[thelist] Using audio on websites

Ian Anderson ian at zstudio.co.uk
Sat Nov 19 03:57:21 CST 2005

Robert Gormley wrote:
> You should be able to find a couple that are able to parse a 
> directory for music, take specified files, or read XML.
> Can offer that for 'nice' inline, integrated audio playing, and fall
>  back to clickable links to the music file for those who wish to
> save, or those who have a preference for using their own externally 
> integrated player.

Surely the issue is whether the tracks are for download or for sampling 
- I think the above is slightly confusing the two.

For sampling music, Flash is the best way, IMO. It has the widest 
audience support of the relevant formats and offers the best combination 
of design integration and smooth user experience for this.

Personally, I don't see any need to offer alternative formats if you're 
using Flash for stuff that the user is not meant to keep.

If the use is free tracks for download, then you just link to the MP3 
and then the user can download or play them as they wish, in the player 
of their choice.

Flash accessibility is getting on for pretty good compared to the old 
days; there are three main issues:
1. Can you navigate it with only the keyboard? (Usually, yes)
2. Is the content available in a screen reader? (Increasingly, yes)
3. Can people see the content clearly without needing to change the 
font, size and colour? (because they can't...)

Just pondering on the issues of Flash versus other embedded player 
formats, there actually is no perfect solution to 3. No matter what 
colour or size you make the UI elements, there will always be someone 
for whom it's the wrong colour or too small. For pure accessibility, you 
couldn't use Flash at all, so it's a question of weighing up the 
relative pros and cons. It's also worth remembering that those users 
would also have a hard time with the UI of Windows Media Player or 
Quicktime, neither of which offers the user the chance to change the 
size or colour of the UI elements either.

So, in real world accessibility (as opposed to ivory tower) I'd say use 
Flash as opposed to any other embedded format with a reasonably clear 

This site impressed me on a number of grounds:


1. Reasonably nice design
2. Standards-based css layout - niiiice...
3. Well implemented Flash player for promo songs, not free songs, with a 
popup option so you can keep listening while moving from page to page. 
(This is a real pain with embedded players - they stop when you move off 
the page)
4. Links to download free tracks

Just a really well-done example of the genre.

Also, the music is pretty good - I love these three songs from this band 
in particular




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