NCDAE Tips and Tools: Macromedia Breeze

Created: October 2005

Description

Breeze is a web communications system created by Macromedia. It has two main components:

Product Website

For more information on Breeze or to open a 15 day trial account, visit http://www.macromedia.com/software/breeze/

Vendor Accessibility Statement

The following is an excerpt from The Breeze accessibility statement found at: http://www.macromedia.com/macromedia/accessibility/features/breeze/presenter.html

Macromedia Breeze leverages the accessibility of the Macromedia Flash Player. With integrated support for Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA), the Macromedia Flash Player makes content available via screen access technologies such as Window-Eyes from GW Micro, HomePage Reader from IBM and JAWS from Freedom Scientific. This ensures that text, text equivalents specified in PowerPoint and accessible objects embedded within a Macromedia Breeze presentation are exposed to assistive technologies.

Native Accessibility

Breeze Meeting

Important: Breeze Meeting is not keyboard or screen reader accessible.

Currently, a screen reader user's experience with Breeze Meeting will range from confusing to completely inaccessible. Although Macromedia is working to resolve this issue, Breeze Meeting by its very nature does not lend itself to screen reader accessibility. It does not exist as a linear page, but changes constantly based on user interaction. Not only does information change constantly, it changes in so many places. Each pane (or pod) in Breeze meeting is in essence its own program, and it is difficult to manage many programs without scanning them visually.

The same can be said about keyboard accessibility. Many of the features in Breeze Meeting are difficult, or even impossible, to access without using a mouse. While keyboard control can be improved on, some features, such as the collaboration (whiteboard) pod, may always require the use of a mouse.

Despite some limitations, Breeze Meeting has some strengths:

Other accessibility challenges are addressed in the following table:

Accessibility challenges within Breeze Meeting
Accessibility challenge Disability type(s) Solution(s) within system Solution(s) outside system
Breeze Meeting is not keyboard accessible Visual, motor None If the meeting could be an asynchronous presentation instead of a synchronous meeting, consider using Breeze Presenter.
Breeze Meeting is not screen reader accessible Blind, other screen reader users None If the meeting could be an asynchronous presentation instead of a synchronous meeting, consider using Breeze Presenter.
Real-time audio/video cannot be captioned Hearing, cognitive
  • Macromedia is has developed a method to include real time captions in Breeze Meeting. For more information contact Bob Regan at Macromedia.
  • Pre-recorded, captioned  media files can be embedded
Use an external program, or a second computer, to stream captions
Collaboration pod (whiteboard) must be manipulated using a mouse Motor, visual None  
Embedded PowerPoint (PPT) files are not accessible All None Link to a pre-recorded presentation
Layouts and presenters can change suddenly: this can cause disorientation Visual, cognitive
  • Do not change the layout too often and alert the users when and why a change is about to take place
  • when you change focus to a new pod, direct the user to the pod that is in use
 

Breeze Presenter

Breeze Presenter has the potential to be much more accessible than Breeze Meeting. This is especially true for people using a screen reader or those who are unable to use a mouse. The following is a list of potential accessibility features:

Despite the many accessibly features included in Breeze Presenter, the following table lists some accessibility challenges:

Accessibility challenges within Breeze Presenter
Accessibility challenge Disability type(s) Solution(s) within system Solution(s) outside system
Presentations cannot be captioned Hearing, cognitive The presenter can synchronize the notes pod with each advancing slide. This is done by creating a transcript of the presentation in the Notes panel within PowerPoint and the Macromedia Breeze Plug-in for PowerPoint  
Embedded PowerPoint (PPT)  files may not be accessible All You can increase the accessibility of the presentation for some people by creating a PPT with accessibility in mind  
Keyboard shortcuts may interfere with Quick Keys for the JAWS screen reader Blind, other screen reader users None Disable Quick Keys in JAWS
There is no way to include row and column headers in data tables Blind, other screen reader users None Link to an HTML document containing a properly formatted data table.

Additional resources

Links to VPAT

A Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a vendor-generated table that describes to what extent a product complies with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. It follows a template created by The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI).