Accessibility in storyline blocks in Rise

May 23, 2022

I've been inspired this year to start tackling the accessibility of our content in rise - and have started looking at replacing some of our drag and drop interactions with accessible storyline blocks instead - but am struggling!

The screen reader I'm using to test (NVDA) isn't picking up all of the text, I've attached an example storyline story file in case there's something obvious (or not obvious!) I'm doing wrong,,,

Do screen readers not play nicely with layers? Or having text on shapes? I've set a custom focus order, and ensured that alternative text is there (even though the text is on the shape as well - it hasn't worked either way!).

6 Replies
Luciana Piazza

Hi Jay,

Thanks for reaching out and sharing what you are experiencing with your published course when using NVDA. I can understand how concerning it can be to not have everything function as expected when trying to create more accessible content!

You mention that the screen reader is not picking up all of the text. How are you navigating with NVDA? 

I'd like to offer a few suggestions when using a screen reader to help you troubleshoot: 

  •  If you are using Tab and Shift+Tab to jump from one interactive object to another,  you will be skipping text and images.
  • If you are viewing as the learner and using the Down and Up arrows to move through all of the text and interactive objects on the slide, the screen reader will call out each object this way. 

Here's some documentation on what to expect:

Storyline 360: Slide Content Is More Accessible

I want to let you know we do have an open issue specific to screen readers following the focus order of objects in the slide layer. We’ll be sure to update you here when we have additional information to share.

In the meantime, I’d recommend setting each of your questions up on it's own slide. This will allow you to customize the focus order for each slide without the need to consider additional layer objects.

Have a great afternoon!

Jay Peaurt

Hi Luciana, yes I'm using the arrow keys to navigate though the content not tab. It just doesn't pick up the alt text on the shapes. I'll try using a text box rather than a shape to see if that makes a difference, and if not, will put each question on a new slide. If layers aren't considered accessible, that's a bit problematic though!


Jay Peaurt

Hey Luciana - yes not using layers, does make it work. Which is fine for this small piece of content, but not really practical for other stuff, where we want to use layers,,,,

Simply not using one of the nicest bits of functionality isn't the best option! Accessibility = no layers isn't a nice thought.

IS this potentially related to the open issue you have? Or is this something else that needs to be looked at?

Leslie McKerchie

Thank you for confirming that your content is working as expected when using slides, Jay.

Layers display additional content on a slide at certain points on the timeline or in response to learners' actions. Your content, which was different for each layer, is better suited for slides.

It sounds like you were running into our open issue, and we've added this conversation to the report so that we can update you in the future.

In the meantime, we released a new feature and a related fix yesterday specific to slide layers in Build 3.64.27845.0:

  • New: Identify a slide layer as a modal dialog when you don't want learners to interact with anything else in the course while the layer is open. Dialog layers overlay the browser window and dim other content, creating a familiar navigation experience for everyone, including screen reader users.
  • Fixed: The accessibility focus order didn't follow the correct path for feedback layers when using a screen reader.
Eric Santos

Hi everyone!

I have great news to share! We no longer see this bug where the screen reader doesn't follow the focus order of objects in a slide layer. This is when using our latest version of Storyline 360 (Build 3.72.29699.0).

Please let us know if you're still noticing the issue, and we'll be happy to continue troubleshooting with you in a support case.