9 Replies
Brian Batt

Hi Donna,

It's not currently possible to add alt-text to images in PowerPoint that will appear in the published Flash content.

However, you can create alternate versions of your content that is accessible by following the methods described in this blog article: 


Note: This article provides guidance on how to create a Section 508 compliant course. However, full compliance of Section 508 will vary by organization. Thus, additional steps beyond what this article provides may be necessary (e.g., accounting for video captioning, interactive scenarios, etc.).

Jon DeMartino

Hi James-

 I just looked at your sample HTML version and have some questions about accessibility:

1. Are the options, Flash version, and HTML version, at the bottom of the screen visible to the user with a screen reader and how do they select one without the mouse/

2. In the HTML version I tried to use the keyboard arrows to advance the screen but they didn't work. What's the alternate method an unsighted person would use to access the previous/next buttons?



onEnterFrame (James Kingsley)


It might help if I give you a bit of background on our product.

It's original purpose was to provide a non-Flash version of the course for users with low bandwidth and/or no Flash; while still maintaining basic LMS functionality. 

Later we discovered that some customers were using it as a 508 alternative so we tweaked it to work better with screen-reader software.  Although we are not 508 experts. 

Recently one of our larger customers hired a firm to conduct 508 testing on the player. Turns out it worked pretty well and they only asked us to make a few more tweaks. 

So the product we have on our site has been tested and tweaked to improve it's accessibility. 

Something we learned in the process (remember we are not accessibility experts) is that people who use accessibility aids (screen-readers, etc) are very well versed in those tools and use them in ways we would have never imagined. So to answer your questions:

1. They tab to the button. We optimized the tab order and the alt text so that they will find the button quickly.

2. Ditto

All that tabbing seems difficult to me but apparently is second nature to folks who do it everyday. 



Christopher Dobson

I understand that the application developers are probably not "Section 508" experts; but there should ba a way for them to find some benchmarks on which to test the accessibility of the Articulate products.  For example, some of the typical problems with producing instructional content with the M.S. Office suite can be fixed if the users knew how to do so.  As most users have never been formally or properly trained.

Some example of things that could be easily fixed in those applications are as follows,

  1. Proper use of Heading Styles to create structure, and functional navigation, by means of viewing an outline type of view via Document Map, (Word '03-'07) or Navigation Pane (Word 2010).
  2. Making sure text when added, is searchable and in the outline, and the ordering of how text is read can be repaired via the Master slides and Insert Placeholder Text, and the use of the Selection Pane (PowerPoint)
  3. Provide destination titles for URLs, or links, so that a user knows where they are being directed to, before selecting a link (which I think both Articulate Studio and Storyline have implemented already)

The unfortunate thing about the MS products is that a lot of the accessibility is often done as an afterthought, with the need to locate the image, right click on every image, locating the Alt-text tab, and then entering the text description, or you can use an Accessibility checker (Hidden inthe backstage area) after the content has already been authored.

The accessibility should be built in, as an optional form field when you are inserting images, media, content, etc. Therefore, as you are authoring and entering content, into a presentation or an interaction/activity, an alternate accessible HTML page is dynamically created, with placeholder text for the areas the application that have preset text (ie. tabs, flash cards, interactive areas, etc.) and the user generated content is placed in place with the proper reading order, heading structure, etc.

Many of these settings and accessibility repairs have benefits to others beside those with physical disabilities. For example benefits to people with learning disabilities (which there is considerably more of), people who English is not their native language, and more.

Some resources for how testing can be done for accessibility:




I really like both the applications but would like to see more accessibility built in. Plus it would make the applications more marketable to all schools that need to meet curricular and accessible standards.

Christopher Dobson

No problem! There are some archived Webinars about the upcoming Section 508 Refresh and other Accessibility topics found here:


This group is currently giving a session on Accessible e-Learning at 2:00PM ET, 1:00PM CT, 12:00PM MT, 11:00AM PA.

Literally in about 10 minutes; but should also be archived at URL above shortly thereafter.

Registration link: https://www.ssbbartgroup.com/webinarregistration.php?id=0