Accessibility & Using Layers

Jan 16, 2023


I have stopped using layers to make content accessible to colleagues using Jaws. (I use slides and branching).  Could you advise best practice around layers and using Jaws? 

It seems to be difficult to navigate layer content for someone using Jaws and your advice on how to do this would be appreciated.



5 Replies
Phil Mayor

Layer work with Accessibility. It really depends on how you show the layer and if the base layer needs to be clickable.

If the base layer needs to be clickable then the focus order should be arranged so the layer content comes after the button or object that shows the layer.

If the base layer doesn't need to be clickable e.g. a popup. Then set the layer to prevent user clicking on the base layer or modal dialogue and then the content does not need to be placed just organised in a logical order as it will take focus as soon as it is shown.

Luciana Piazza

Hi Melvin, 

Thanks so much for reaching out! I went ahead and created a sample based on what you were looking to achieve. Please let me know if I misunderstood your description in your reply. 

Here is how I achieved this in my Storyline 360 project file: 

  • First, I added four checkboxes and four layers with a button on each layer. 
  • Then, I added in this trigger with a conditional element that the checkbox had to be visited in order to navigate to the corresponding layer: 
Show layer when user clicks on Checkbox 1 
  • For each layer, I inserted this trigger so that the learner would navigate back to that base slide:
Hide layer when user clicks on Checkbox 1 
  • I opened up the Focus Order and created a custom focus order. I made sure to group the checkboxes, layers, and buttons for each section together so that the learner would be able to navigate in the correct order: 

I am attaching my .story to this post so you can take a closer look at how I built this. 

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any additional questions. 

Kaylea Mitchem

Hi Luciana,

Sorry to piggyback off your question Phil! But I have a similar question regarding focus order of elements on quiz slides. Apologies in advance if I'm getting this wrong or misunderstanding the functionality. 

It won't let me remove the default correct/incorrect elements from focus order, when really all a screenreader needs to see is the "Correct" text and the "Continue" button. It means the user has to navigate through three extra sections of the slide to continue... 

See screenshot where it won't let me remove the visual elements  (Rectangle 5, oval 1, freeform 4) - the rubbish bin is not selectable. 

I can workaround it by placing the continue button as next to be focused on as shown, but it's not ideal!


Jose Tansengco

Hello Kaylea, 

Thanks for reaching out!

I checked using a new question slide and I was able to access the delete icon just fine for the elements in the feedback layers. 

This means that something may be preventing those objects in your slides from being deleted.

Are you able to replicate the behavior on a new project file with question slides added to it Additionally, would you be willing to share a copy of your project file here or in private by opening a support case so we can take a closer look at what's happening? We'll delete it when we're done testing!