New accessible player in Storyline 360 not functioning as expected with JAWS

Feb 07, 2020

I am experiencing difficulties with using JAWS screen reader in a before and after published version of the same file. I'm providing zipped files from the before and after publishing of the Storyline 360 file.

The first file was published with the version of Storyline 360 I was using in February of 2019.

 The second file was published with the version of Storyline 360 I am currently using. That version is v3.36.21289.0. I am using Version 2019.1912.1 ILM of the JAWS demo version.

 In the version published in February of 2019, JAWS worked as I would expect, including reading slide content. In the version published with the most recent version of Storyline 360, I am not able to get JAWS to read the slide content. It comes up with the "Skip navigation…" message and pressing Enter to return to the slide doesn't do anything, at least not that I can tell.

I'm also including the Storyline 360 file that used the same settings for publishing both versions. All help or suggestions will be appreciated.

23 Replies
Lauren Connelly

Hi Donna!

I'm happy to help!

In our most recent update ( Update 36, Build 3.36.21213.0) for Storyline 360, we released the Accessible Player, which came with other accessibility features. This article explains the way the new features behave regarding Accessibility compliance.

The "Skip Navigation" button is also a new feature. Screen reader users have always had an option to skip the player controls and return to the first object on the slide, so they don't have to navigate through all the player features to hear the slide content again. Now, the skip navigation shortcut becomes visible temporarily after navigating through all the slide objects, so sighted keyboard users can also take advantage of this time-saving feature. It appears as a button in the lower right corner of the slide and is labeled "Back to top."

The skip navigation shortcut is enabled by default, and now you have the option to turn it off. Here's how:

  1. Go to the Home tab on the Storyline ribbon and click Player.
  2. When the player properties window opens, click Other on the ribbon.
  3. Mark the box to Disable skip navigation shortcut.

It sounds like you're also noticing how a screen reader reads the slide content without needing to tab to each individual object. This was an intentional build by our team to give screen reader users the same experience as when they visit other websites. 

If you have any more questions about accessibility options within Storyline 360, please don't hesitate to ask!

Donna Pepper

Thanks for your response, Lauren. Your suggestion was helpful as far as how to get rid of the Skip Navigation message. However, it didn't help with having JAWS read the slide content whether I try to tab to it or not. A few days after I submitted this question here, I submitted it as a Support help ticket. So far there has been no resolution but I've had a couple responses updating me and letting me know that they will let me know when something is figured out.

Katie Riggio

Hi Sharon!

So sorry for the trouble, and I'm glad you also reached our Support team. After careful testing, I see Robert connected the behavior to an open issue we're investigating.

For those following along who may run into a similar problem: We found that text and images are not read instantly when using NVDA. JAWS is unaffected, and this behavior isn't present before Storyline 360, Update 37.

Let me know if there's anything else I can do. I'm happy to help!

Donna Pepper

Thanks for your reply, Vincent and yes, Peter has been very responsive and helpful. I learned in an accessibility webinar with Stefanie Lawless from Yukon Learning yesterday that the new behavior for screen readers as of the January 21 update to Storyline is that learners using a screen reader do not need to tab through slide content. This is also mentioned in the following article... Stefanie also mentioned that slide content must appear at the beginning of the timeline for a screen reader to read the content. This is problematic when narration is being provided for sighted learners and content is timed to appear based on the narration. Stefanie did share some tips for how to adjust slides as a workaround to this new behavior. 

What I'd like to find out is if this behavior of content needing to appear at the beginning of the timeline is the way it is intended to work or if it is something that the Articulate Support Team is working on. Knowing this will impact what recommendations I make to clients about how content that has been created since the January change needs to be adjusted so that screen readers can perform as needed. Thanks for any insight you or others may be able to provide.

Lauren Connelly

Hi Donna!

I love that you were able to participate in that webinar! I'm happy to share more information on these changes.

As you know, with Accessibility being high on our radar we're focused on releasing continuous improvements. We've heard from other customers about narration and screen reader audio clashing so we did release a change in Update 37 (Build 3.37.21453.0) so the content would not be read automatically. A sighted user's experience would be to hear the narration readout while text is progressively revealed, and now the screen reader user can have the same experience. 

If you're looking for a workaround, we just released a new Jump to Time trigger in Update 38 (Build 3.38.21779.0). This trigger could be used by giving screen reader users a button to jump to the end of the current timeline which would reveal all the text and skip past the talking part. 

With this being a continuous process, we really appreciate you taking the time to provide feedback. We will make sure to keep you updated!

Lauren Connelly

Hi Tania!

I'm happy to investigate! 

This seems quite specific so it's difficult to offer a solution without seeing the file. Are you comfortable sharing your file with us in this discussion? If so, you can use share it by using the "Add Attachment" button. By doing this, we'll get more eyes on the file so we can determine a fix.

Alena Ayers

Hi Lauren

I appear to be having the same issue with my Storyline 360 file.  I am testing with the newest version of JAWS and through Internet Explorer but the screen reader does not seem to be recognising any of my images/text boxes which I have ticked as viewable by screen reader, given alternative text to and ensured they are in the correct Tab Order. I upgraded to the newest version of 360 today - version 3.39 but the issue is still there. I saw the comment above that the slide content must appear at the beginning of the slide for the screen reader to recognize it but this is not possible if you are trying to tie animations in with voice narration. I have tried putting the content on the screen from the start of the timeline as hidden and then making it normal after so many seconds so that it will tie in with the voiceover. This then means that I lose the entrance animation which then makes the course very boring to look at. However, even images which are static from the beginning of the timeline are still not being read.

Please can you take a look at this file and let me know if this is a Storyline issue or if I am doing something fundamentally wrong. I don't want to attach the file here as the content is client confidential. Please can you give me a link to upload directly to you.

Many thanks

Lauren Connelly

Hi Alena!

I'm happy to help! 

Why does a screen reader not recognize images and text boxes even when they are part of the tab order?

In Storyline 360 Update 35 and earlier, screen reader users and keyboard users tabbed to move to, or focus on, each item on the screen. Then users could use their spacebar to activate interactive elements on the screen like buttons or other controls. This put a burden on users who needed to hit the tab button to navigate each and every item.

We changed this process in Update 36, so the tab order dialog in Storyline is still used to define the reading order of the page, but the "tab" key will only focus on interactive objects like buttons, controls, and links. 

This means that images/text boxes no longer need to be tabbed to or highlighted for a screen reader to recognize them. 

I've included a screen recording where I used the Speech Viewer tool in NVDA. You can read the text that the screen reader is listing. You'll notice that just by opening the page I can hear the text in the text box and then "Next Button" afterward. 

I'm happy to take a look at your file if you're noticing anything different! Here's an upload link.

Alena Ayers

Hi Lauren

Thanks for coming back to me. Is there supposed to be sound on your mp4 screen recording? I can't hear anything - all I can see is the Speech Viewer - I'm not sure how the NVDA relates to the JAWS screenreader as I have been testing with this as I thought JAWS was the recommended compatible screenreader for Storyline.

I understand that the new Update 36 has changed the way the tab key works but when I test on JAWS it does not appear to be recognizing any images or text boxes at all.

I will upload my file to your link so that you can take a look. Please note I have only adjusted the Tab Order on slides up to 1.7.

Many thanks for your help.


Kristin Hatcher

Hi all, I'm experiencing a similar issue. I just posted about it here before finding this thread. 

I am on version 3.36 of Storyline, from January 28. 

I sent a sample of my files to support, and they upgraded the sample to the latest version of Storyline to see if that fixed the problem, but it did not. I'm going to keep an eye on this thread to see if there is a solution. 

Kristin Hatcher

Brief update: Apparently upgrading to the latest version of Storyline does help a little. I wasn't using the up/down arrow keys to navigate through the text on the screen. However, JAWS will occasionally read "Blank" for no apparent reason, and it will stop reading the text partway through a sentence. Also, it puts the word "Clickable" after every object on the screen even though the text boxes are not clickable.

Here is a video of it working this way. 

Leslie McKerchie

Hi Robi,

Thanks for reaching out and sharing that you are experiencing a similar issue.

With your permission, I'd like you to share your project file with our support engineers to investigate what's happening. You can share it privately by uploading it here. It will be deleted when troubleshooting is complete.

As for the video Lauren shared above, she mentioned including the text since the audio would be hard to hear in her screen recording:

I've included a screen recording where I used the Speech Viewer tool in NVDA. You can read the text that the screen reader is listing. You'll notice that just by opening the page I can hear the text in the text box and then "Next Button" afterward.

Robi Calderaro

Hi Leslie,

Thank you. It is not even a complete project, just a new project with 2 slides in which I tested accessibility by changing it in the accessibility box and verifying it in the order focus tab. I was going to try and add the content of the entire slide (the lore ipsum thing) in the heading accessibility box, but would defy the purpose of it being accessible and add considerable developing time, compared to the version we use now. Also, when I publish it, it doesn't read the heading as "heading", even if I marked as such.

I saw the text, but I was thinking I might have missed the sound. Thank you.