[Athen] Accessibility of Adobe Flash Player Installer and Adobe Flash Player Itself

Brian Richwine blrichwine at gmail.com
Wed Nov 20 08:00:57 PST 2013


I'm curious to know if any institutions have an ongoing relationship with
Adobe for addressing the accessibility of their Flash suite of products
and/or Adobe Connect.

I've noticed that the Adobe Flash Player installer and update process is
becoming more and more inaccessible. For instance, in the latest update
process the user is presented with a dialog that includes an inaccessible
"check box" that must be activated to avoid also getting an anti-virus
software installed along with it. The "check box" is a span element with
CSS background graphics to provide a visual representation of a checkbox.
Non-mouse users and non-visual users will not be able to opt-out of the
extra bundled software as by default the checkbox is checked.

Also, the flash player security dialogs (for instance for enabling
microphone or webcam access) as needed to participate in web conferences
(like by using Adobe Connect) are also inaccessible to screen-reader users.
This effectively nullifies any efforts Adobe has made to make their Connect
product accessible to all but the most passive of participants.

Recently our users could not even login to view recorded sessions because
the login page's controls were contained inside a div that mysteriously had
an aria-hidden="true" attribute applied to them. This caused the login form
to be rendered invisible to AT users. Luckily Adobe responded quickly,
however for several days our students could not access the system

As usual, many of the accessibility issues seem to those of us with
accessibility knowledge as if they would be easy to fix (appropriate use of
ARIA, labeling buttons, etc.). If Adobe performed any user testing,
informed QA testing, or had experienced accessibility staff these issues
should be caught and fixed rather quickly. It appears as if the fixes could
be made without affecting the design or functionality for non-AT users at

Brian Richwine
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