Accessibility - shape with text vs shape and text box

Nov 04, 2020

Hello friends,

Wondering if anyone can shed some light on the difference from an accessibility perspective between a shape with text in it and a shape with a text box over-laying it.  If there is a difference, which one is preferred?

I know it's not accessible to use an image with text in it because a screen reader can't recognize it.  Is the same true for a shape with text?  I like to minimize the number of "things" I use on my slides, so I prefer to put the text right in the shape, but I've just realized that I don't really know if this is 100% accessible.  So hoping for some clarification before I get through making this course accessible and realizing that I've done it wrong lol.

If I put the text in the shape, do I have to keep it in to focus order in order for it to be recognized?  Or will the screen reader automatically read out the text in the shape as it does with any text boxes? In my focus order, I'm generally taking out anything that the user doesn't have to navigate to (including text) but if I take the shape with text out and the screen reader won't catch the text, then that doesn't really work. 



3 Replies
Lauren Connelly

Hi Lindsay!

I'm happy to help! You'll need to use a shape with text rather than a shape with a text box.

If you're using a shape with a text box, a screen reader will announce "Rectangle 1" and require the user to navigate to the following text. If you're using a shape with text, then a screen reader will announce just the text.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Lindsay Piché

Thank you Lauren!

So in the case of using a shape with a text box (sometimes I do this because of animations or some other circumstance where a shape with text won't work), if I remove the shape from the focus order, will this prevent it from being read aloud by the screen reader?  Or is there something I can do with the alt text to change how this is handled?  Or would I have to just avoid this altogether?


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