Accessibility challenges

Apr 11, 2017

We seem to be coming up against a number of challenges making our Storyline modules fully accessible.  Here are a number of concerns raised by our publications manager after testing our most recent one with a screenreader:

  • Links aren’t recognised as links (the key to find links finds nothing) - is there a way of presenting links so that a screenreader can recognise it?
  • Headings aren’t recognised as headings - ditto
  • Most images are announced as sections rather than graphics and no alt text is read - these were screen shot thumbnails we had inserted that you had to click on to enlarge.  Is there a way around this?
  • The tab order (which is how screen readers often navigate) isn’t always correct. This is true even of the pre-populated templates.  For example, the labels layout in Vigor.  Are we even able to manually adjust this?

As a government agency, we are required to be compliant with WCAG 2.0AA but it doesn't look like this will be possible.  Can you please advise?



46 Replies
Crystal Horn

Hi there, Tamara.  We have the issue with hyperlinks in a text box on our radar.  I'm going to check back in with my team to see what are the expectations for accessibility with hyperlinks in your content.

In the meantime, let me give you some workarounds:

  • If it is a single hyperlink within the text box, apply the trigger to jump to the URL when the user clicks the entire text box.
  • Insert a shape on the screen and set the transparency to 0% or no fill. Place the object over the location of the hyperlink, and attach the trigger to jump to the URL to the object rather than the text.
  • Place links in the Resources tab of the player with instructions to refer to the Resources tab for more information.

I'm intrigued about the extra objects in your tab order window.  Are they objects on the layer?  Could they be different states of your existing objects?  Are you using a slide master that includes these objects somewhere?  If you can share your .story file, I'd love to have a closer look!

Bob O'Donnell

Hi, I have someone testing the JAWS hyperlink issue as I need to know the answer as well. We use one of Crystal's options (transparent shape) to fix the hyperlinks for 508 reasons.

As for the extra stuff you are seeing in the tab order, since the objects are not in your slide layers those objects are likely to be in your slide master and they are marked as "accessible". That's why they would show in your list but not be on the actual slide layers in the timeline. See if that's the case. For example, your "Rectangle 1" could be a header bar inserted on your slide master. Just uncheck the accessibility box and it should go away in your tab order.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Paige,

Our team is continuing to work on and add additional features for accessibility to all of Articulate 360 and specifically Rise, and I know a few other folks have shared the need for those Rise headings to be accessible to the screen readers, so that's something I've made sure to share with our Product team.

We've been updating our “What’s New, Whats Next" page will this type of information and you can also take a look at our Rise Version history for a full listing of what's already been released. 

Crystal Horn

Hey there, Bob and Tamara.  Just a quick update on the accessibility of hyperlinks in text boxes.  We are reworking some of the accessibility elements in Storyline, so we plan to release a future update where this issue will be resolved.  

I'll keep you updated here.  Hoping the workarounds for now will help!

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Sabine,

If I use the Tab key to get to the menu, I can then navigate down into the different slides listed using the arrow keys and the spacebar or enter key allowed me to select them and jump to that slide. Similarly, if I didn't want to open any of those, I could press tab again and advance to the next item on the slide. I tested this using Storyline 360, IE11 and Edge browsers with JAWS 18. 

Can you share a bit more about your setup and let me know where you're running into issues?

Sabine de Kamps

Hi Ashley,

Thank you for getting back to me this quickly. I can tab out of the Menu or Resources list, but the problem is that the list does not collapse when I tab out of it. It remains open and covers whatever elements are on the right side of the page. I'll attach a screenshot to illustrate what I mean.



dave heaton

I'm having some of the difficulties expressed in this post when making some 360 modules more accessible. (I'm testing with JAWS in Googe Chrome).

The tab ordering seems to be including items I've removed from the list and also adding in build components from storyline icons within the built-in button states.

I've lots of objects revealing information in different states and it's also frustrating that I can't rearrange the tab order within individual layers (Preventing the user from clicking the base layer isn't an option).

Alyssa Gomez

Hi there Dave, 

Thanks for letting us know what's going on. Do you have a sample slide you can share to demonstrate how JAWS is reading objects you've removed from the Tab Order? We'd love to take a closer look!

If that works for you, you can upload your file privately to our support team here. We'll give it a test and let you know what we find!

Miriam Larson

Another related question regarding opening attachments that are uploaded into Resources when using keyboard tabbing:

- If the course is published to LMS, on a PC a Word document accessed from Resources brings up the Word document in protected view with a message to that effect and a button to "Enable Editing." I cannot get to that button with the tab key to enable editing. Since I am using this as a way to provide a Word version of a screen-reader transcript for the course, I am in big do-do right now since the screen reader will not read anything while the Word doc is in protected view. Any suggestions for a solution to this problem?

- If the course is published to LMS, on a PC a PDF accessed from  Resources may bring up a dialog box that asks "do you want to download this PDF or open it?" That message is a system message outside of the LMS and it is NOT read by JAWS (which is currently only reading things within the Storyline course and the LMS). If the learner is totally blind, they are, so to speak, "dead in the water," unaware of what is going on and they do not know why the system is not reacting and do not know that there is a message displayed on their screen. Any suggestions as to what to do about this?

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Miriam,

Sounds like you're stuck in quite the spot! With both of those being browser or system messages outside of Storyline or the LMS, I'm at a loss for what else to add to help circumvent that. JAWS is capable of reading everything on a users computer (often happens to me as I open applications and other tools while testing) so perhaps your IT team may have some suggestions on how to ensure it's reading other elements inside the browser.

I also imagine you're not the first to run into this, so I hope others in the community are able to chime in! 

Ren Gomez

Hi -a l,

Thanks for reaching out! We currently have accessible text styles on our Feature Roadmap that includes improvements to hyperlinks. We'll be sure to jump into this discussion and update you when that feature is ready!

Accessible Text Styles

Use text styles to make content easy to navigate with a screen reader. Styles allow learners with vision disabilities to hear a list of headings and hyperlinks on each slide so they understand its layout and context. Learners can also use screen reader shortcuts to jump directly to headings and links.

Lauren Connelly

Hi everyone! 👋

I'm happy to report back with an update regarding tabbing to hyperlinks in Storyline 360!

We just shipped Storyline 360 (Build 3.47.23871.0) today, and you'll see that included in this release are many accessibility features. Learners can now tab to hyperlinks in text boxes and activate them by pressing the Enter key. 

Make sure to update Storyline 360 in your Articulate 360 desktop app to check out all bug fixes and features included in this update!