JAWS screen reader and radio buttons SL2

Dec 10, 2015

I've been doing a lot of accessibility testing lately and it looks like JAWS cannot read the text in native-to-Storyline radio buttons. When I tab to a radio button, JAWS just says "radio button" and tells me whether it's selected or not.

I have to copy the text of the radio button into the Alt Text field in order for JAWS to be able to read it. On the other hand, JAWS can read the text in regular 'shape' buttons just fine, without me having to put anything in the Alt Text field.

Have other people noticed this or is my experience unique?

39 Replies
Belen Ferrer

Thanks for commenting, Annette. Although when you say "navigation buttons" I'm not sure if we are talking about the same thing. To me, "navigation buttons" are the buttons on the player that jump to the next slide or the previous slide, for instance.

The buttons I am referring to that don't get read as expected are the radio buttons -- buttons that have a little circle next to a line of text: 

Just to clarify.

Belen Ferrer


When you are on a radio button and press Tab, JAWS will move to the next radio button down the line or the next element in your slide. So the text of the radio button is not considered separately from the button itself.

What I don't understand is why the text in the radio buttons can't be read by JAWS. Has this not been reported as an issue before?

The Alt Text workaround works, but it is a workaround, and a time-consuming one at that if a project has a lot of radio buttons.

Belen Ferrer

Hi Ashley,

When you say "in regards to questions", what do you mean?

These radio buttons were actually used in a basic slide (not a question slide or even a 'convert to freeform' slide). I'm not sure if placing them in a question slide would make a difference.

I believe the JAWS and IE versions are the most recent: our test was conducted with JAWS 16.0.4463 and Internet Explorer update version 11.0.26

I'd like to know if this is something I should file as a bug or a feature request. To me it seems more like a bug, since text in regular (non-radio) buttons can be read by JAWS without issue.

Thanks for looking into this!

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

HI Belen,

Thanks for sharing that element as well. I tested on a blank slide with two radio buttons (the first I didn't add alt text to, the second I did) and then a question slide as well with two of the answers having alt text added. I then published to Articulate Online and used the latest trial of JAWS 17 and IE11. I was able to tab and heard all the elements read out and didn't have any that didn't read the text in the radio buttons. Could you test my version here? If you're still having difficulty with my version can you look at updating to the latest version of JAWS? If my version works for you, but your set up is still having difficulty I think we'll want to take a look at one of your courses so can you connect with our Support team to share it? 

Belen Ferrer

Thanks, Ashley.

I can confirm that your test works with JAWS 17, but not JAWS 16. So I'm glad it will work for some users.

However, I've learned that a JAWS license costs $1000 (the next two upgrades cost ~$500) and that they release a new version (ie: new license needed) every year in October. I'm not sure how often JAWS users actually update to the newest license, but my research leads me to conclude that we have got to make our Storyline lessons backwards compatible at least with JAWS 16. 

For that reason, it looks like we will have to use the Alt Text workaround.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Thanks Belen for letting us know that it works for you in JAWS 17. You may want to reach out to them regarding what support they could offer or if they'll be fixing that particular issue in an update for JAWS 16. I believe from what I've heard from other users in the forums they only support the latest release of JAWS in the latest version of IE - so it may be a bit limited. 

I'm glad the Alt text will accommodate it as a workaround for now and based on the ones I added alt text to vs. those that I didn't, they'll still be able to access the course normally with the alt text if they are using JAWS 17. 

Design Team

Hello there. Just to piggy back on this thread.. I have an issue with regards to the screen reader reading the radio buttons on a multiple choice slide. The screen reader fails to read whether or not the user made a selection. It continues to read "not checked" even on the selected answers. I have used all platforms (i.e Mozilla, Chrome) along with Jaws and NVDA. They all read each selection as "The answer" + radio button not checked. Would love to see a solution to this.. thanks..thanks..

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Design Team, 

Thanks for reaching out here - since this forum discussion is a bit older I think we'd want to take a look at your project file and know a bit more about where you're testing it (JAWS and IE, both the latest versions are the supported options for JAWS and therefore what we support). 

Can you upload a copy to our Support Engineers here?

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Antoinette,

Thanks for checking in! I see that Miker was able to replicate the issue in the case and reported it to our team as a possible software bug. 

From here, we'll meet with my team to take a closer look so we can determine next steps. Sometimes my team catches errors in my logic and we don’t have a bug after all. Of course, if that’s the case, I’ll let you know! 

Depending on priority and risk, some bugs can be fixed quickly, while others take longer to resolve. Here's more information on how we identify and tackle bugs.

I’ll let you know as soon as we have an update on this issue. Thanks so much again for letting us know about this, and I’m sorry if it’s slowing you down.

Max Cropper

I'm having the same problem with Storyline 360 HTML5 with flash backup output with Chrome.  JAWS 18 is not identifying when an answer is selected, nor identifying whether an answer is selected when I tab to it.

In the knowledge checks, JAWS is not reading the text of the questions or the answers.  

I would appreciate any information on a solution.  

Max Cropper

I read elsewhere that JAWS must be opened first for IE11 to work with JAWS.  Thanks!  In IE11, JAWS read knowledge check questions, letters, and options in a clunky, field by field manner, allowing item selection with the spacebar on the letter or response text fields.  Still no acknowledgement of which item was selected.  Only, "radio button not checked" for every option.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Max,

This is still an issue with our QA team to investigate.

It seems that the radio button issue of how it's read out was also connected to  those shapes/objects are included as a part of a freeform pick one/many interaction. It is assigning the characteristics of a radio button - since that is how it's selected within the Freeform Form View Quiz set up.

Does that match what you're seeing?


Max Cropper

Yes.  For some reason, JAWS does not recognize when a radio button is selected, neither as an option is selected by pressing the space bar, or as I tab between answers.  JAWS always says, "radio button not checked," even when it is checked.  JAWS also directs to use up and down arrows to move between options, but arrows do not work, only tab and shift-tab work.

The knowledge checks are more problematic.  It is confusing to tab through multiple fields of the options.  the letters corresponding to the responses are in separate fields.  IE11 does read the options, but Chrome does not.  Very confusing for visually impaired.  Neither does JAWS recognize whether an option is selected.  

If these issues are not resolved soon, do you have any recommendations for quiz items for the visually impaired?

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Max,

Thanks for clarifying - that's an issue we have reported for SL3 as well. It seems that the issue appears only in HTML5 - so in the meantime you could remind users to view the flash based output in a browser such as IE11 or Chrome. 

I'm sorry this is causing you so much trouble, and I'll keep you posted here with any updates.

Mark Nolker


I too have run into this issue. I am using Storyline Update 12, IE11, JAWS 16.0.1928 (I can't get the most up to date JAWS). I created an interaction which has 12 options in a button set. January through December. January through May read correctly. When I get to June it reads "Radio button not checked." I tab through and the same happens for July, August, September, and October. November and December are read correctly. Here's the strange thing; if I select any of the items, they all are read correctly. I have attached my file for your review. If you can think of a solution or a workaround... that would be awesome. If this information helps with bug recognition and irradication, great.


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