Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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FLASH11: Providing a longer text description of an object


This technique relates to:

User Agent and Assistive Technology Support Notes

See User Agent Support for Flash for general information on user agent support.


The objective of this technique is to a provide longer, more detailed textual information for an image than would be suitable for the image's accessible name. An accessible button is provided adjacent to the image that displays a new panel containing the image's long description text.


Example 1: Making a hidden description visible on request

In this example, an image containing statistical data is shown. The image is provided a short textual alternative ("Graph of percentage of total U.S. noninsitutionalized population age 16-64 declaring one or more disabilities"). Below the image, the user can click a button that will overlay a long textual description of the statistical information itself. When the button is clicked, the following actions are taken:

The image and descriptive text were taken from an HTML example for long image descriptions on

The results for this technique are shown in the working version of Making a hidden description visible on request. The source of Making a hidden description visible on request is available.

Example Code:

import flash.accessibility. *;
import fl.accessibility.ButtonAccImpl;
import flash.system.Capabilities;


//set accessibility properties
graph_mc.accessibilityProperties = new AccessibilityProperties(); = "Graph of percentage of total U.S. \ 
  noninsitutionalized population age 16-64 declaring one or more disabilities";
longDescBtn.accessibilityProperties = new AccessibilityProperties();
longDesc_mc.accessibilityProperties = new AccessibilityProperties();
longDesc_mc.accessibilityProperties.forceSimple = false;

//set click handlers for button
longDescBtn.addEventListener("click", function () {
longDesc_mc.longDescCloseBtn.addEventListener("click", function () {

function showLongDesc() {
  // hide the original content from screen readers
  graph_mc.accessibilityProperties.silent = true;
  graph_mc.tabEnabled = false;
  graph_mc.alpha = 0.2;
  longDescBtn.enabled = false;
  longDescBtn.accessibilityProperties.silent = true;
  longDesc_mc.accessibilityProperties.silent = false;
  // make the long description panel visible, both visually and to screen readers
  longDesc_mc.visible = true;
  longDesc_mc.tabEnabled = true;
  longDesc_mc.longDescTitle.stage.focus = longDesc_mc.longDescTitle;
  if (Capabilities.hasAccessibility)

function hideLongDesc() {
  //do the opposite to what showLongDesc does
  graph_mc.accessibilityProperties.silent = false;
  graph_mc.tabEnabled = true;
  graph_mc.alpha = 1;
  longDescBtn.enabled = true;
  longDescBtn.accessibilityProperties.silent = false;
  longDesc_mc.visible = false;
  longDesc_mc.accessibilityProperties.silent = true;
  longDesc_mc.tabEnabled = false;
  longDescBtn.stage.focus = longDescBtn;
  if (Capabilities.hasAccessibility)



When a Flash movie contains images that require long descriptions, confirm that a longer description is made available through a separate button.

Expected Results

If this is a sufficient technique for a success criterion, failing this test procedure does not necessarily mean that the success criterion has not been satisfied in some other way, only that this technique has not been successfully implemented and can not be used to claim conformance.

Techniques are Informative

Techniques are informative—that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard—not the techniques. For important information about techniques, please see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.