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Displaying the notes as a visual version of the narration would help folks with hearing impairment and meet Section 508 rules, but I'm not sure how you'd manage describing the visual elements for folks with visual impairment.
First of all, great questions!
Second, I have come across a couple of documents and resources that address 508 compliance, but let me say this:
1. The VPAT, in a very general sense, only mentions *compliance* with regard to 508....it doesn't really offer any meaningful content in terms of HOW to create accesssible presentations. For example, if you look at the VPAT matrix, you'll see that Adobe lists various criteria as "fully met" or not. Not exactly the most helpful information...but it's a start.
2. I'm going to be brutally honest here: although I've created a number of Breeze/Presenter courses with 508 in mind for organinzations requiring it, I'm not an expert in this area (yet!) and our tests with screen readers has been minimal at best. I have, however, developed many courses using just Flash, Flash with Dreamweaver/HTML and have been able to factor in section 508 guidelines with no problem whatsoever.
The biggest concern I think has to do with the line: "Authors are not able to assign or modify text equivalents when assembling the Macromedia Breeze presentation."
I find that rather confusing, because you could easily approach that statement in a couple of ways. What I'd like to do (without getting terribly verbose here) is to offer the following:
http://www.adobe.com/macromedia/accessibility/features/breeze/presenter.html This page outlines some techniques to employ which will help create more accessible content; including providing text equivalents for images and, as julrdrgz stated, using the Notes panel to display the transcript of narrated audio.
http://www.adobe.com/macromedia/accessibility/features/breeze/accessible_ppt.html This page actually goes into some detail on how to create accessible content and also discusses the use of animations and transitions which, if used improperly, can cause havoc with screen readers.
And finally, with regard to your last question about addressing issues for those with visual disablilities, you could easily do a search and find a ton of resources/information, but here's a couple of simple things to keep in mind:
1. Maintain as much contrast as possible. Although there are many types of colorblindness, the prevalent ones usually fall in the red and green spectrums (I've read about folks being "red weak" or "green weak" as they make up for nearly 99% of those with color sensory issues--taken from Colorvisiontesting.com ). The point: imagery and graphics with too little distinction will end up being very difficult to see. Taken from the Section 508 site site, other techniques to consider include:
- Background patterns and color that contrast well with
- Dark type and graphics against light, plain backgrounds are
easiest to read and see.
- Avoiding similar-color combinations in the interface and
graphics. Specifically, avoid using yellow, blue, and green close
- Avoiding contrasting red and green.
2. Text in graphics: When creating images that include text as part of the graphic, it's important to remember that you don't use color alone, to prompt the visitor. If you need to embed text in a graphic, it should be clear what the intent is, so that the focus, or importance, of information shifts from the use of color to the actual text that appears in the graphic. An example that the Section 508 site uses is the word "GO!" that appears on 2 buttons: one green, one red. Because of colorblind issues, it's quite likely that someone may not even recognize what the button is for, especially if the learner is prompted to "click the red button to do this, or click the green button to do that..." Rather, if the buttons themselves are labeled appropriately, it makes it easier for the learner to do a task without having to rely on color information to make a choice.
In that same vein, if you want to take advantage of a good primer for 508 issues, register for free training courses at the Section 508.gov site. Very informative stuff...and its FREE!
Hope that helps KC, and again my apologies for the long reply
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- Background patterns and color that contrast well with lettering.
Interesting feedback. Thanks...
You mention you develop courses in Flash (alone... without Presenter?).
Do you know of any good tutorials or getting started material on Flash/SCORM