Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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FLASH11: Providing a longer text description of an object

Important Information about Techniques

See Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria for important information about the usage of these informative techniques and how they relate to the normative WCAG 2.0 success criteria. The Applicability section explains the scope of the technique, and the presence of techniques for a specific technology does not imply that the technology can be used in all situations to create content that meets WCAG 2.0.


This technique relates to:

User Agent and Assistive Technology Support Notes

See User Agent Support Notes for FLASH11. Also see Flash Technology Notes.


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 a previously published 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.