508 Compliance Alt Text and Object States

Aug 19, 2019

For one of our customers, we are working on updating an existing Storyline360 course and making it 508 compliant. During this process, we are updating the alternate text/aria labels for objects in the eLearning course. Some of our objects contain multiple states, but most only require one value as the alternate text.


When updating the alternate text from the Accessibility menu directly from the timeline (without editing a state), the change is not always being picked up by a screen reader. When an object doesn't have states, it works properly. But as soon as an object has multiple states, the screen reader requires the alternate text value to be updated within each specific state. For example, an object with the Normal (default) and Hover state will require the alternate text label to be added to the Normal state to be picked up by the screen reader. Updating the value without going into states, doesn't seem to change the value in the states. So currently it doesn't seem to be possible to update the alternate text value for objects with multiple states without updating it in each state. It also doesn't seem possible to change the alternate text value for multiple states for the same object at the same time.


Updating the alternate text labels for an existing eLearning course takes a lot of time if you have to manually change values within every possible state. Especially if this value should be identical in every state. Our eLearning files contain over a thousand objects and editing these alternate text values for every possible state requires a lot of work.


Looking at how objects usually behave in Storyline when editing states, alt text seems to work differently. When I create a button with multiple states and adjust the text or the color in the default state, it will apply it to all other states with identical values. I would expect the same thing to happen with alternate text values.


Is there any way to adjust the alternate text value for multiple states at the same time, without recreating the object? Or is there a way to change the alternate text for the Normal state of an object, without having to open the state?

7 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Nikki, 

The way alt text works in an object with states is:

  • It'll read the default alt text of the object from its Normal state.
  • It'll read the alt text of your button’s Normal state and any custom states when you enter the alt text in the Size and Position window while editing those states.
    The alt text of built-in states will not be read.

Our team is still looking at an issue where JAWS doesn't read the alt text from Tab Order for objects with multiple states.

In the meantime, there are a few workarounds you could use:

  • Manually change the alternate text of the states. (Edit state > Righ click object for each state > Size and position > Accessibility)
  • Modify the alt text in the Tab Order before adding a state to the object.

We'll let you know here as soon as we have additional updates!

Mischka Zeldenrust

Just for my curiosity: Why is there an option to change the alternate text outside of states, if it's not being used?

If the default alt text is always read from the Normal state, it would make sense that adjusting the alternate text value outside of a state, would automatically be applied to the Normal state. And like Nikki said: When all states have an identical alt text value, why can't you update them all at the same time, similar to other edits on objects with states?

Lauren Connelly

Hi Mischka!

Our Product team has noted this as a bug. We'll keep you updated along the way!

To address the second part of your reply, I can see how it would be beneficial to easily update states that have the same alt text value. I'd be happy to share that with our Product team! We are always open to hearing new ideas regarding accessibility in courses. 

Katie Riggio

Hello, community!

To circle back on Lauren's post, I'm excited to share that we just released Update 34 for Storyline 360. It addresses the issue where JAWS did not read the alt text from Tab Order for objects with multiple states.

To see all the enhancements this version has to offer, follow these steps to update your software!