We’ve been working hard on accessibility features and enhancements to Storyline 360 that empower you to provide great learning experiences to all your learners. One area we’ve really focused on is text accessibility. In this article, we’ll look at three of the big features we’ve added, why they’re important, and how to ensure you—and your learners!—benefit from them.
Accessible text allows learners to adjust the size and style of course text—using custom stylesheets or browser extensions—so they can easily read it, making it more accessible than ever.
Here’s a quick peek at how that works:
Any new projects you’re creating in Storyline 360 will automatically take advantage of these improvements without you lifting a finger!
I recommend turning on accessible text by default so learners don’t have to manually switch it on. Accessible text is invisible for learners who don’t use browser extensions and invaluable for those who do. And when you design from an accessibility-first standpoint, it benefits all learners.
To set that up, follow the steps below:
- Click on the Variables button (which looks like an X) in the Triggers panel
- Open the Built-In tab
- Scroll down to Player.AccessibleText
- Choose True in the drop-down menu
- Click OK to save
Here’s a .GIF that shows that same process:
And that’s all there is to it! Now accessible text will display by default when learners open your course. You can read more about accessible text in this article: Storyline 360 Accessible Text.
Accessible Text Styles
As you read this article, you might notice that your eye is drawn to the title first, then the subheadings, and finally the body text. For a sighted person, text elements like headings and subheadings help to establish a visual hierarchy that makes reading a little easier. But what happens when you don’t have visual cues to help you understand the hierarchy of information?
That’s where accessible text styles help screen reader users. When you apply accessible text styles to your entire project, you create more design consistency and empower learners who use built-in screen readers by making it easier for them to distinguish the hierarchy of information, so headings, hyperlinks, quotes, and other custom text have context.
For example, if you format some text on your slide so it appears bigger and bolder than the rest of the text, sighted learners can easily tell that the bigger/bolder text is a heading. However, screen reader users won’t know that unless you apply a heading text style, which tells the screen reader to announce the text AND its semantic formatting—for example, heading 1, heading 2, hyperlink. By using accessible text styles, you ensure that all your learners with accessibility needs have the context they need to understand your content.
For detailed information on how to create and work with accessible text styles, head over here: Storyline 360: Using Text Styles.
When it comes to making sure all your learners can access your text, another important thing to consider is text size. After all, if your text is too small, learners might have trouble reading it.
Thanks to our new autofit improvements, it’s easier than ever to maintain control over the size of your textboxes and the text that’s inside them. When you draw a textbox, you can now set it to a fixed size without shrinking the text if it overflows.
Shrink text on overflow setting
Instead of making the text smaller so it fits into the textbox, a scroll bar now appears. From there, you can decide whether to leave it as is or adjust the size of the textbox so the text fits inside and the scroll bar disappears. Either way, the text size remains unchanged and you can feel confident knowing all your learners can easily read it.
This feature also comes with options to automatically expand the width or height of your textbox on overflow. You can change the settings by selecting the button that appears outside the lower right corner of the textbox, as shown in the .GIF below.
To take advantage of this feature, open up your project and go to the design tab on the ribbon. Click on the Fonts dropdown and click on Upgrade Project Text, as shown in the .GIF below.
Learn more about this feature here: Storyline 360: Text Autofit Improvements.
Taking advantage of these new features will help you on your journey toward creating more accessible e-learning. For more information on making sure your courses work for all types of learners, check out this series: All About Accessibility.
If you have any tips you want to share, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you! Want to try out these accessibility features for yourself, but don’t have Articulate 360? Start a free 60-day trial! And remember to come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning.