Alt text missing from Tab Order. Sometimes, but not always.

I have built several courses and typically add alternate text to images either from within the Media Library or by right-clicking and viewing the Accessibility panel. 

Even though I have alt text added for ALL of my images and the object is visible to accessibility tools, when I view the Tab Order popup, the Alt text column is either completely blank, or it lists the alt text for some of the images, but not all of the images.

This has been an ongoing issue with Storyline 360 and it hasn't changed since I've started using the product, regardless of what version I've used over the past 2 years.

It doesn't seem to impact screen readers, though, as our 508-testers have confirmed that the graphics were being read. It's more of a nuisance because it makes it harder to set up tab order if you can't see the alt text of the images.

I have other colleagues that experience the same issue and we can't figure it out. 

Anyone else run across this?

11 Replies
Sam Hill

Hi Jill. I haven't seen this issue before. Are you able to provide a small file with an example of the issue? The only thing I can think of would be if there was an ALT text on nested object in a state of an image, but then you'd really have to go out of your way to do something like that (not by accident). Would love to see an example.

Jill Essex

Sure thing! I stripped out all client-related information from this file, but as you can see, in slide 1, the "Mom and daughter meditating" alt text is missing from the tab order on both photos even though it's assigned in the Accessibility panel. On slide 2, all 4 photos have alt text assigned, but the alt text for 1 photo doesn't appear in the Tab Order. This seems to only be an issue with images, and not shapes or buttons.

Lauren Connelly

Hi Jill!

I'm happy to help! I looked at your file and I didn't run across any issues with the alt text in the Tab Order. 

Here's what the tab order looks like on my end:


I also added alt text to additional objects, saved the project, reopened the object, and the alt text was still there.

Do you see this with every project, or is it just this project that isn't saving the alt text? If it's just this one project, let's try importing the course into a new project. This should do the trick!

Please let me know if you're seeing something different on your end.

Jill Essex

Hi Lauren,

Yes, that is what I see as well. The issue is that in your first screenshot of the tab order, that first item in the list (Picture 1) has the alt text of "Couple in an embrace" assigned to the image, but this alt text doesn't appear in the Tab Order. In your second screenshot of the tab order, the two images (Picture 2 and Picture 7) have "Mom and daughter meditating" as the alt text assigned to them, but it isn't displayed in the Alt Text column in the tab order panel. If you check the images that don't have alt text listed in the Tab Order panel, you'll find that they do have alt text applied to them when checking their Accessibility.

This happens in every project for me as well as my colleagues. The alt text IS there - I know it's being read by screen readers - but I'm curious as to why it doesn't appear in the Tab Order panel.

Sam Hill

Hi Jill, I think I understand the reason for this. I think it is because the images are using their default or defined ALT text from the media library. This is why the ALT text appears in the faded grey text. If you chose to deviate from what is defined in the media library, the ALT text would appear solid black, and would also appear in the column on the right in the Tab order.

It's similar to how Text fields behave. If the ALT text of a Text field is the same as the text within it, you won't see the text appear in the right hand column of the Tab order, and the text will appear light grey in the Alt text field. However, if you edit the Alt text so that it differs from the text within the Text field, it will become solid black in the Alt text field, and will appear in the right hand column of the Tab order too.

I hope that makes sense? I did a video to explain it too:

Jill Essex

Thanks Sam!  I have often wondered why sometimes the ALT Text is black and other times it's gray. It makes sense that the gray is the default that was added in the Media Library. In your explanation, I understand your theory on why it doesn't show up in the Tab Order, but if you look at the other slide with the 4 photos in it, all of them have the gray ALT text, and three of them appear in the tab order, but one doesn't. 

As a test, I did the following:

  • I opened the Media Library and removed all ALT text from the photos in the file, and it defaulted to the actual filename of the image in the Media Library. (GettyImages_XXXX.jpg, for example.)
  • I then checked the ALT text under the accessibility panel and it displayed the default filename of the image in gray as I suspected it would. 
  • To my surprise, ALL of the images' ALT text was displayed in the tab order. This goes against the theory that default alt text from the Media library doesn't show up in the tab order.
  • As an additional test, I then went into the Media Library and changed ONE of the default filename ALT texts to something else, rechecked the accessibility (it was gray), viewed the Tab Order, and it STILL displayed. Because this ALT text was added via the Media Library, I didn't expect it to appear in the tab order, but it did!

So, in my experience, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to what displays in the Tab Order. I'll continue to pay more attention to this during development to see if I can pinpoint a logical reason for how this works.

Either way, it would be a nice feature if all ALT text was displayed in the Tab Order, as it makes it easier to set up when you can see a description of the item when you're not a fan of having to name all your layers with a better description than Picture 1, Picture 2.

Thanks again!