For the most part, screen readers interact with Storyline 360 courses the same way they do websites. However, there are some differences to know about—changes we’ve made to improve the experience. In this article, we’ll walk you through some key things to know about the screen reader experience, so you know what to expect.
1. Screen readers don’t announce Storyline 360 slide content automatically.
Normally, screen readers automatically start announcing visual content when it appears. However, this can be problematic with e-learning courses, since it’s not uncommon for them to have audio or video that autoplays when you arrive on a slide. For this reason, when you arrive on a slide built in Storyline 360, the screen reader will announce the slide title and then wait for you to explore the rest of the content.
For more details on this, check out this article: Screen Readers Don’t Auto-Read Content.
2. Screen readers often stop announcing content after a certain number of characters.
Some screen readers (like NVDA and JAWS) stop reading after a certain number of characters (for example, 100 or 150). This is true for all types of content—not just content built in Storyline 360. If you’d like your screen reader to continue reading, you can customize this setting or use the down arrow to continue reading. To find out how to do this, refer to your screen reader’s user guide.
3. Screen readers announce objects from left to right and top to bottom.
If you simply create your course as usual and hit publish, screen readers will read slide content from left to right and top to bottom. In many cases, this works fine. However depending on your slide design, there might be a more logical order. For example, if there are multiple columns, like on the slide below, it might make sense to read each one from top to bottom before moving onto the next instead of reading each row in order from left to right and top to bottom:
Luckily, that’s something you can easily customize as the course author. Head over here for a tutorial that walks you through how to do this, step by step: Customizing the Focus Order of Slide Objects.
4. Screen readers announce all slide objects.
Once again, if you simply publish your course as usual, screen readers will announce every on-screen object as the learner navigates. However, you can hide certain objects—for example, decorative images—so the screen reader skips over them. To do that, you can either remove that object from the focus order or right-click on the object, select Accessibility, and uncheck the Object Is Visible to Accessibility Tools box, as shown below.
Hopefully these insights will help prepare you for testing your Storyline 360 courses with screen readers. But if you’re still feeling a little nervous, check out these resources for more help:
- Accessible E-Learning & Screen Readers: What You Need to Know
- How to Test Your E-Learning Course with a Screen Reader
- 9 Basic Screen Reader Commands to Know When Testing Your E-Learning Courses
- A Checklist for QA Testing Courses with a Screen Reader
- 5 Common Questions About How Storyline 360 Courses Work with Screen Readers
Want to create courses that work with screen readers, but don’t have Articulate 360? Start a free 30-day trial, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning. If you have any questions, please share them in the comments.