Accessible, Beautiful Flash Text

by Stephanie Rewis on October 1, 2004

I've got to hand it to Mike Davidson. He's putting together one of the most inventive things I've seen in quite some time. I'll be writing an article about it soon. But for now, I'll give you the basics.

Mike's developing a way to use an image replacement technique (obviously most useful for headings) using JavaScript, Flash and CSS. You simply style your headings as always using your h1, h2, h3 elements and cascade the fonts as always. The technique then uses JavaScript (if installed), and replaces whatever text you've put into the heading element with dynamic text (using Flash). This means that we can use beautiful fonts, not installed on the user's system, on our web pages. This rocks!

I've been playing around with it and so far I'm excited about the results. The method is due out of beta soon and I've already got two client sites I'll be adding it to. The thing I like best is that if the surfer's browser does not have the Flash 6 player installed or has JavaScript turned off, the text renders using the CSS and they don't feel they're missing anything. This is not only good for accessibility, but it's also wonderful for search engines. This text can be indexed and read by all. Excellent!

You can read Mike's very long explanation at Introducing sIFR: The Healthy Alternative to Browser Text. And the most recent beta (check his site's blog for releases after this date) is version 2.0b2. You can download and play with the files — sans instructions for now — at sIFR 2.0b2: The Mo? Betta Beta.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheri February 25, 2005 at 8:10 am

What a fantastic reference! Thanks, Stephanie. I have saved this post as a PDF for future use.

Gordon Mackay February 28, 2005 at 6:55 pm

Hey Stephanie, that’s really great.

sIFR is about the last frontier of experimentation for me before I go grey and/or bald with all the new techniques on the go.

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