Flash/Streaming Media

Technologies such as Streaming Media and Flash provide a high degree of visual and sensory stimulation and have a place in modern web development. However, since these technologies require both specialized third-party applications (such as the media viewer or Shockwave plug-in), as well as full sensory capacity of the end user, authors and developers must ensure that any key information provided by these technologies also be made available in an alternative accessible (text) format, and made directly accessible from the same page as the multi-media content.

Providing multi-media to the end-user requires that the end-user remain in control of their environment at all times. Auto-start audio tracks, in particular, may directly conflict with screen-reading technologies , other hardware (i.e. the computer's sound card can be rendered inoperable), or cause, at a minimum, multiple "voices" starting simultaneously (as most screen readers will commence reading upon the page fully loading). There may also be times when unexpected audio may cause problems (or embarrassment) for the end user.

Flash/Streaming Media Standards

Standard #1

Flash and Streaming Media must not be used as the sole content delivery format.

Video Captions and Audio Transcripts

Standard #2

Streaming Media (including audio or other music files) should not "autostart".

ITServices: Streaming Service

Standard #3

Streaming Media must include accessible controls allowing for start, stop and when required audio adjustment.

Video Accessibility

While there are many different types of multimedia content on the web today, each has unique methods of providing a "control panel" to give control to the end user. It is the responsibility of the content developers to avail themselves of the methods and techniques used in the format choice they are using.