CDC and 508 Accessibility

Dec 05, 2017


We recently received the following message from the CDC:

Dear CDC Partners,

As federal grantees, you are aware of Section 508, an amendment to the United States Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which mandates that all electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the federal government be accessible to people with disabilities.

Many of you are developing e-learning courses. As you develop these courses, please be sure that you are using the CDC recommended software to make your courses 508 compliant. You can produce 508-compliant courses with both Lectora and Captivate software; however, Lectora software is most preferred. Due to compliance issues, Articulate should not be used to develop e-learning courses.

I have been sent to this page in the past:, but I'm curious why the CDC still won't recognize Storyline as an acceptable tool. Is this something that Articulate has discussed with a with the CDC? Any chance Storyline will ever make their list of acceptable authoring software for 508 compliance? 

We are really hoping that we don't have to switch authoring tools.



18 Replies
Matt Cherry

That's my understanding as well, but obviously the CDC hasn't gotten that message. The message explicitly says "Articulate should not be used to develop e-learning courses". 

We've been using Storyline for many years now, but if the funder says it won't work for them...I'm left with little choice. Just trying to find if Articulate is a company has tried to address with somebody at the CDC. It seems like they would want to be on the approved list if they feel their software meets all of the 508 needs.

Liz R.

The software doesn't automatically make something 508 compliant. You have to do some, if not a lot, of extra work to accommodate for 508. As a VA employee, I'm well aware of this so I try to use 508 tools such as JAWS and object inspect to ensure everything can be accessed both by mouse and keyboard.

Dave Goodman

My understanding is that the 508 Guidelines (about 3 pages with 40 or so requirements) can not be fully implemented within Articulate of Captivate. I think the number is about 65% adherence. Most people develop their courses in a very heavy text format with minimal if any interactions. You may want to look at

Matt Cherry

At the same time I started this thread, I also sent a message to the "508 compliance" contact at the CDC. I pointed them to Articulate's article on 508. This is the response that I got 2 minutes ago.

"Hopefully your projects are at a point where the switch to Lectora can be made with minimal impact.  Due to potential 508 compliance issues, CDC has made the decision that Articulate products should not be used. 

Among the concerns is that Storyline courses work OK with Jaws but not with other assistive technologies.  Also Flash is used, which is not 508 compliant."

Again, I'm hoping an Articulate staff member might be able to chime in here and tell me if they think the argument is worth being made. Otherwise, I guess we'll be going with another authoring tool.

Matthew Bibby

Flash can be 508 compliant... however those who rely on assistive technology dislike it for various reasons. 

It sounds to me that the CDC may not have the best information regarding Articulate and it's capabilities, however, I'm not sure how easy it'll be to get them to rethink their decision. 

Matt Cherry

Hey everybody,

Just wanted to post an update...someone from Articulate's staff contacted me and said they are following up with the CDC about this. Understandably, they can't guarantee any sort of timeline for the CDC's response, or if they will be added to the list. But I'm happy they are on the case and making the effort. Fingers crossed...

Dave Goodman

I think we need some clarification on "Section 508". There is a composite that contains approximately 45 "guidelines" for 508 adherence (not necessarily compliance). Some federal agencies require total compliance/adherence to all of the guidelines while others are willing to accept what is called "Primary 508" which is about 15 of the guidelines. I believe that there are about 27 people across the federal agencies who act as the 508 watchdog team - they are the ones who may be more strict than say the training designers/developers who review all of our courses. So there are various reasons why one agency accepts a course while the same course may not be accepted in another agency. In terms of Captivate and Articulate tools, neither one adheres to the full 508 guidelines but does adhere to the "primary" guidelines. I offer this opinion so that we know the correct answers to ask federal agencies and to understand what their possible forthcoming answers will really mean. Some attachments.

Matt Cherry

Hi Brian.

I'm following up on this thread to see if you've made any progress with the CDC about getting Storyline on their approved list of authoring tools. We are currently responding to an RFP for 5 courses. We had to purchase Lectora for the previous project, but would love to go back to Storyline. Any updates on this?



Lauren Connelly

Hello Moriah!

I'm happy to work with you to ensure you have the information you need. Are you looking to create accessible content in Storyline 360?

If so, we do have resources that will help!

All About Accessibility Series

Storyline 360 VPAT

Please let me know if you have additional questions about accessibility and 508 compliance.