508, Text Input Fields, JAWS, and Storyline

Is there anyway to get assisstive technology (screen readers) to read an Alt Tag applied to a Text Entry Field. While doing 508 testing I ran into the fact that despite what is in the text entry field or its alt tag, JAWS always reads text entry fields as "TEXT ENTRY INPUT". Not the most helpful message.

3 Replies
Randall Sauchuck

Okay here is my work around.

I created a very small text box positioned slightly above and to the left of the text entry field. I usually position it behind the text entry field which has an opaque white fill.

When a sighted user comes to the slide they will not see the small hidden text box and will use the screen as usual.

When a user with a screen reader comes to the slide and TABS through the elements on the screen they will come to the hidden text box right before they come to the text entry field.

In the text box I insert instructions like "Press the TAB key and then type in your answer to the question ....blah blah blah."

Of course it would be EASIER if the screen reader could read the Alt Text on the text entry field itself. Not sure if that is a limitaion of JAWS or Storyline though.

Karin Carlson

Definitely a limitation of Storyline. There should be a method to add a label or alt text to form fields. Now that we have a new version of Storyline, the assumption (!) is that users who use screen readers won't press Tab to move through the page, but will use arrow keys. So a well-placed bit of text just before the field would work, BUT, we don't KNOW that the user will press arrow keys, so might not hear the text. Your solution is a workaround but will only work if the person is using arrow keys (because text boxes are no longer focusable). If the person tabs to the text box, they will NOT hear the instruction. 

Katie Riggio

Hi there, Karin!

You raise good points, and I appreciate you sharing your experience. Our accessibility journey isn't over as we continue to make progress in our work.

We're still monitoring the impact from NVDA and JAWS not reading the alt text for a text or numeric entry field in Storyline courses, so I'll surface your experience with the right team.

The moment there's more info to share, you'll be the first to know.