I didn't think that accessibility had anything to do w/ search engine indexing. Accessibility usually relates to disabled people using your web site, such as those with no eyesight.
That said, in theory yes search engines can index Flash content. Adobe made a 'headless' player that they have provided to search engines such as Google. We are told that search engines use that headless player to index Flash content.
In practice, no one knows exactly how this works and if SEO is important to you, don't use flash.
I personally feel that Flash is great for animation and video stuff. You wouldn't want to index animation or video, though. You'd want to index metadata around that content.
I feel that Flash is also great for building applications. But, you probably don't care about indexing an application, only the content displayed in the application. For example, do you want to search "word" or do you want to search "word documents"? Most likely the second.
If you're intent on using Flash I would look for a way to provide an alternate view of the content.
Thank you very much for your reply.
Part of my evaluation is a test on whether accessibility for Assistive Technologies equals accessibility for Search Engines. Much of the theory is the same and techniques used by screen readers to access text content may be (I am assuming) quite similar to the techniques Google would use to access the text content.
There has been much fanfair by both Google and Adobe about how Google and Yahoo now have the technology to access text content in Flash files. What I am attempting to do is work out exactly what is and is not accessible by Search Engines, and build tutorials to share my findings with anyone that may be interested.
Unfortunately, with no information from either Google or Adobe about the version of Flash that can be indexed, I am finding stumbling blocks very early on in my research!
Thanks again for your reply.
The fanfair was quite a while ago. Ryan Stewart an Adobe Evangelist even set up a contest surrounding that.
If memory serves me, he eventually cancelled that contest because no one ever showed up search results.
There has been more updates from Google and Adobe regarding indexing SWF content since then such as http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/11/what-feeling-even-better-indexing-of.ht ml.
A lot has changed since the 2008 competition, I am just tring to figure out what....
Interesting. We'll good luck! Let us know what you figure out.
Are you talking about text that is rendered by the Flash Text Engine (FTE) and the Text Layout Framework (TLF), which are the standard ways of displaying text in Flex 4 components? Such text is not currently indexed by Google, but Adobe and Google are actively working to enable this.
I'm fairly certain that older-style text rendered by the TextField class has been indexable by Google for a long time.
Adobe Flex SDK Team
Thank you very much for your reply.
I have read up on FTE and TLF (best resource: http://opensource.adobe.com/wiki/display/flexsdk/FTE+and+TLF+text+in+MX+components) and I don't think that I am using either of these rendering options. From my understanding of what I am reading I am using TextField classes. The reasons why I think I'm using TextField for text rendering are:
1. Most of my text is held in mx Containers such as mx:TextArea and mx:Label
2. In the compiler settings of my Flash Builder the setting for "Use Flash Text Engine in MX Components" is NOT selected
3. TLF support for htmlText does not include bulleted lists, but my page http://www.accessiblerichinternetapplication.com/#/Design/Accessibility-Considerations-For -Flash-Movies contains a bulleted list inside an mx:TextArea via the htmlText attribute. The fact that it renders correctly leads me to believe that TLF is definitely not rendering my content.
This has me very perplexed because my website is only being indexed by Google for Static HTML content I have in the home page. None of the content from my SWF file is being indexed.
I have created some very simple applications using only MX components using SDK 3.0, 3.5 and 4 and one just using the flash.text.TextField and the content inside them still cannot be seen by search engines (using http://www.se-flash.com to similate spider access while waiting for pages to be indexed).
Would you mind having a very quick look at these applications to tell me where I am going wrong?? This may be a very simple thing for you to point out to me, but I am not seeing how Google can index Flex applications at all!
The "View Source" option is enabled on all these applications as well as my website's main application:
Your help with this is very much appreciated.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon,