Details on new (Storyline 2 update 5) screen reader functionality please.

Jun 25, 2015

Hi, in the absence of a screen reader to test it on myself, can you please provide more details as to what will be read using the new Storyline 2 update 5 functionality? 

The support article says: "To add alternate text for screen readers, simply enter text in the Alternate Text column on the right side of the tab order window.... If an object doesn’t have alternate text, screen readers will read the name of that object as it appears in the timeline."

What is the specific screen reader functionality for text and title boxes? What happens when you add alt text to a text box?  In the tab order customization window, under Shape, for each object in my tab order, it lists the title of the slide + the name of the object in the timeline + the content of the text box itself.  Is this what I can expect to be read to the screen reader?  I don't want it to read the full title of the slide in front of every piece of text.

If I use alt text on a text box, such as to indicate that it is an item in a list (required for WCAG), will the alternate text "list" override the contents of the actual textbox, or just precede it, overriding the timeline name "textbox 1"?


3 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Fiona,

If you don't have a screen reader, there are a few you could download and access a free trial, JAWS is one example and the one used by our team most often.

In regards to what will be read, if you have included text in a title or text box, that text will be read. Alt text is generally useful for images or such that the screen reader couldn't "see" if there was text associated with it. 

The title of the slide is typically included as a part of the screen reader, so if you don't want that to be read you could remove the title all together or look at disabling that element in the tab order. You may want to review the additional information here about WCAG and 508 Support. 

Fiona Macelli

Thanks Ashley, from what I understand from your reply, the title of the slide (as it appears under the slide thumbnail) will precede the text of each text box.  Am I understanding you correctly?  (Sorry, I'd like to check it myself but at the moment I'm unable to download the JAWS trial because our draconian IT department restricts EVERYTHING). 

If the title of the slide is "Your Favorite Fruit", and the slide has a text box with the title, and some content "Choose your favorite fruit", and a picture of a pear that I have Alt-Tagged "pear".  What can I expect to be read?  Something like this?

"Your Favorite Fruit. Text box. Your Favorite Fruit"

"Your Favorite Fruit. Text box. Choose your favorite fruit."

"Your Favorite Fruit. Image. Pear."

If so, then I would at least delete the title text box from visibility to the screen reader.


If I have a numbered list on that page, I believe that by default, Storyline does not apply the label "list", and my accessibility department would like it to.  Do you know what will happen if I use Alt Text on that text box to label it "list"?  Would it read like this, or would it replace the contents of the text box with the word "list"?

"Your Favorite Fruit. Text box. List. 1 Wash the fruit. 2 Cut the fruit. ..."


I think having extra details like this on the Tab Order support article would be helpful for others who have to create accessible content but don't have adequate mechanisms for testing.  Also I've heard that screen readers require their own learning curve.  My course will eventually be audited by someone who knows how to use one, but I'd rather be proactive.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Fiona,

I'm not a screen reading expert by any means - so hopefully folks in the community can chime in as well.

The slide title is not read with each slide element - just at the beginning if enabled or listed. 

If you're adding alt text that'll override the text elements inside the text box. I found a really great old thread about 508 and compliance and things to keep in mind. If you're unable to test these things yourself it may be tricky to fully think through how they behave, which is why we've kept the support articles a bit limited - as all compliance checklists and screen readers may be different. 

If you run into an issue with anything, please let us know so that I can share with our QA team to investigate further. 

This discussion is closed. You can start a new discussion or contact Articulate Support.