Chapter 10. Rich Internet Applications

With great power comes great responsibility.

—From a Spider-Man comic in Marvel’s Amazing Fantasy #15

So far in this book, we’ve been talking about web applications that are mostly web-, that is, HTML-based. But we can’t forget that the Web does contain software in the form of Flash, Java, and now Silverlight. These platforms have advantages and challenges all their own where universal design is concerned, and in this chapter, we cover them.

Now that the Web has begun to act like software, web accessibility comprises software accessibility. While we might have expected from the head start we had with software design that loads of software accessibility documentation would be here waiting for us, sadly, that part has not come to pass. There is not a corpus of software accessibility best practices that we can rely on—no books that we can recommend, no WCAG-like list of checkpoints. So in this chapter, we offer a crash course in software accessibility as applied to Flex and Silverlight.

The software accessibility guidelines that do exist need a refresh based on changes in languages and devices. Even then, it would be very difficult for any set of guidelines to address everything you can do with software in such the way WCAG 1.0 can do with HTML, or WCAG 2.0 tries to do across web technologies. For general Human Interface Guidelines, refer to

It should be noted that Java, the granddaddy ...

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