A little more than a year ago I wrote about
Pandora’s failure to understand the current state of Flash accessibility. The net impact is that you are unable to sign into the main web site to use your Pandora account. The Flash used on the web site has several other accessibility issues as well. As I wrote back then, Pandora’s main response was that Adobe needed to do more to make Flash accessible.
I used a recent announcement about an update to the Pandora service to revisit the state of Pandora accessibility with the folks from Pandora. While the conversation did move beyond a restatement that Adobe needed to do more, the end result seems to be that improving Pandora accessibility isn’t likely to happen any time soon.
I will say that if you use Pandora through the alternative of a Squeezebox, things have actually improved. The integration between Pandora and the Squeeze Center software has improved to the point that you can delete stations, add music to them and in general use your full Pandora account. Still it would be nice to see the main web site fix basic accessibility issues.
What follows is an exchange of comments from myself and a Pandora representative on the Pandora blog. Note that in the below I did edit to correct two typing errors in my original comments.
Any chance of fixing the sign in accessibility issues for people who use screen readers. I’m on my second year of subscribing to Pandora and Adobe has built an infrastructure to make Flash accessible years ago. Yet the last time I talked with your support department about this a year ago, I was told Adobe had to make Flash accessible. They did long before this so I still wonder if you are looking at this or what’s causing the delay. I shouldn’t have to get assistance just to sign in here. Other web sites have resolved this.
Posted by: Kelly Ford at May 26, 2009 04:27 PM
@Kelly Ford–Here’s our FAQ entry with the skinny on accessibility for visually-impaired users: http://blog.pandora.com/faq/#530. Please write firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions.
Posted by: Alee – Listener Advocate at May 28, 2009 11:49 AM
You are missing my point. I already know about the support link telling me the hints for people who are blind and have discussed this very issue with support on numerous occasions. And that support link says to sign in I need to get someone who can see to sign me in. My point is that this an endless circle. Pandora tells me Adobe needs to do more to make Flash accessible. And I’m saying Adobe has done the work and did it years ago. For some references please see http://blog.kellyford.org/archives/2008/05/trying_to_conne.html, the Adobe accessibility blog at http://blogs.adobe.com/accessibility/, and the Adobe Best practices at http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/best_practices.html.
The last time I exchanged e-mail with support on this topic I was told to go tell Adobe you needed Flash to support accessibility. And Adobe says they do support it and my use of Flash web sites that comply with Adobe’s accessibility requirements shows that it is possible to make an accessible flash site.
So I’m trying to understand what it will take to get Pandora to move forward on this. Is it a resource issue (you don’t have the funds), a knowledge issue or something missing from Flash’s accessibility support? I’d really like to not have this same discussion in 2010.
Posted by: Kelly Ford at May 28, 2009 04:57 PM
@Kelly Ford–Allow me to apologize. It will indeed take more than Adobe’s accessibility for Pandora to create an independently useable sign-in interface for visually impaired users. It is on our to-do list and I am very sorry to say that we have no new developments on when this will be available.
Posted by: Alee – Listener Advocate at June 2, 2009 12:12 PM