508 compatibility with JAWS

Sep 19, 2018

Storyline 3 is very new to our organization. I have created a course in which the closed captions, tab order and alt-text well defined.  However, whenever the course is tested for accessibility the screen reader freezes.  According to https://articulate.com/support/article/Articulate-Storyline-Section-508-Accessibility-VPAT under 1194.31 Functional Performance Criteria, "Storyline supports assistive technology, such as the JAWS screen reader. Most elements are keyboard accessible and provide sufficient information to be read by assistive technology. Exceptions include drag-and-drop and hotspot interactions."  What is also shows is that this feature is author controlled.  What does that mean?  Is there something required in slide to launch the screen reader?  (The issue lies particularly with videos. They are close caption enabled.)

5 Replies
Crystal Horn

Hi there, Theresa!  Storyline 3 supports JAWS screen reader in the following environments without any changes to your content or settings:

HTML5: JAWS 16 or later with Internet Explorer 11, Google Chrome (latest version), Firefox (latest version)

Flash: JAWS 16 or later with Internet Explorer 11


Of course, you can specify your alt text, but the screen reader should read a course, as is, once you launch it.  It sounds like you're seeing an issue with videos with closed captions.  Does the screen reader freeze as soon as you land on that slide?  Does it freeze once you tab to the video?  

Tell me a little more about what's happening, and we'll dig in together!

Theresa Frommel

Since my original post there were several other things I tried.  In the end this was the feed back I got from our 508 testing staff on my final lesson: 

"The play button is not keyboard accessible, so screen reader issues in this case do not come into play. So, no way to activate the play button without a mouse. If I go ahead and mouse-click the play button, the video player and video function as they need to. The screen reader announces all the video player buttons, the video plays and the captioning displays."

I did not use the seekbar, but instead used to video tools option to show the video controls below  video. 

We had purchased content from a vendor, so they put together a lesson for us (they also use S3).  In their version the keyboard access was good, but the screen reader was not announcing buttons if the video is playing. It would announce the buttons if the video was paused, but this meant a screen reader user cannot stop the video. The other vendor content was video only with no closed captions and all keyboard and screen reader accessibility worked perfect, so I suspect it is with closed captioning.

Crystal Horn

Hi there, Theresa. I did a quick test with JAWS and hosting the HTML5 output in Chrome. My mp4 with closed captions was set to play automatically in the slide and included the video controls.

When I tabbed to the video, the screen reader announced the video file name. I could use the spacebar to pause and play the video. It considered the video and the controls one object, so it did not announce the play/pause button or the seekbar in the video controls separately.

Do you have the video synced with the timeline?  That is, do you have it set to play automatically?  If so, could you use the Player seekbar and play button instead of the video controls? 

Another method, like your colleagues suggested, is to trigger the media to play.  This is a good move if you don't want the video to play automatically.  You could use your own buttons on the slide which would be read by JAWS.


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