New Storyline's Auto Screen Reading Tab Order


We were working on an accessibility project with Storyline 360 prior to the new update. We had Javascript to assign all kinds of keyboard shortcuts for the player, that weren't available, and made our own accessibility focus with key press triggers.


We received over 90% of a pass score with an expert accessibility test. Then the new version of Storyline came out and threw a wrench in all of our plans.


At first, it seemed terrible. But, with closer inspection, it seems this new version can be of use to us, if we restart at square one.


However, there are three frustrating issues preventing us from going forward with this new version. We're thinking of rolling back and reusing our Javascript code.

1) The tab order is auto read. Before, we would press Tab, or use the Up/Down key arrows. The tab order should have an option to NOT be auto played....for animations with synced audio narration, this becomes overwhelming and cumbersome and non functional.  We have audio in all of our slides, and having NVDA/JAWS reading over the audio at the same time...ouff.

2) Even though you press CTRL to make the screen reader stop talking, when things fade in sequence during animation, he'll start reading that item's alt text, making the user have to basically hold down the CTRL button to continuously make the person be quiet

3) Things repeat automatically. I started a whole new storyline file, with just 1 page title, and one body text. Screen readers read several things several times, like the document name in the HTML tab, and the page title, and random things like "clickable text" "navigation landmark" "back to previous" and when using the scrubber, it starts narrating all kinds of numbers, as if it's the fraction of where you are scrubbing and what is left on the timer.


It seems that the new version of Storyline would be fantastic for any projects without synchronized audio or animations....but, once you add one of those in, it gets so complex and overwhelming, it's hard to see this being viable with interactivity.


I was hoping these would be little bugs that would be fixed over the weekend, but, maybe not. Are these intentional? We will have to rollback if we cannot figure out how to not make NVDA/JAWS Repeat elements several times.


Can anyone offer some advice? Is anyone experiencing the same issues?


Can some please help with:

  • How can we make auto read not happen
  • How can we stop the screen reader from reading text without having to press control every time an item appears on screen.
  • How do we prevent it from repeating random things like ‘Slide – Slide title, Slide slide title. Slide slide title.”



15 Replies
Lauren Connelly

Hello all!

We are so sorry this update has affected your courses in the ways you've listed:

  • Automatically reading slide content even after stopping the screen reader with the Control key.
  • Screen reader repeats slide content, including quiz content.
  • Screen reader announces "Clickable Text", "Navigation Landmark", and random lingo when scrubbing the timeline. 

If there is anything I've missed, don't hesitate to share!

I've looped in our Accessibility team so that we can grasp exactly what our customers are experiencing. They'll also be able to provide more in-depth support! 

It's helpful to hear your comments, and as always, we appreciate you taking the time to do so!

Michael Cerantola

Thanks for your reply, Lauren.

I've been communicating with someone from your support team for a couple of days on this matter, running various tests.

We're both using the same version of Storyline, the same link, the same version of Chrome, and NVDA, and we cannot reproduce the same issues.

For me, anyway, it seems like Firefox is the browser that has the least amount of nonsense repeat words - but our university shows that less than 5% of our students use Firefox, and most use Chrome.

Hopefully, this is something that can be addressed in the near future, or for a specific mandate, we will roll back. I understand functioning the same way in all browsers is almost an impossible feat, but...if it helps, we're rooting for you guys.


For now, we've put our project on hold...but the law in Canada has an enforced date on July 2020 to launch all new courses with full WCAG 2.0 accessibility compliance.

Leslie McKerchie

Thanks for sharing your updates with us, Michael.

For points 1 and 2 you've defined above:

Text and images are read immediately by screen readers (unless this behavior is turned off in your screen reader settings), so you don’t have to press any keys to hear the slide content. Objects are read in the tab order you defined in Storyline.

You can read more about that here.

For the third point, I've seen this mentioned in another conversation, so I'm going to get this reported so that we can do some monitoring and testing.

Katie Riggio

Hello there, Susan!

Here's what we uncovered regarding:

How do we prevent screen readers from repeating, "Slide – Slide title, Slide slide title. Slide slide title.”

There was a bug on the screen reader side causing that behavior, but the issue should be fixed in JAWS 2020 and up.

Let me know if you're already on a current version of JAWs or if you're experiencing something different. I'm happy to explore further!

Katie Riggio

Great follow-up question, Susan!

While I'm not seeing anything for NVDA - I had a closer look, and here's the behavior in JAWS 2020 and NVDA 2020.3:

Upon launching the slide, screen readers should start by announcing the slide title twice since the natural navigation is to read the course title, slide title in the menu, and then the slide title when the slide is selected. More details here:

If you run into any trouble or experience something different, would you be willing to share the project file? We'd love to test it alongside various screen readers and review our findings with you. Simply use this private upload link.

Michael Cerantola

This was quite some time ago - unfortunately, I used a free video upload site, and I do not have those files readily available to me to recreate - I kept my storyline version downgraded to December 2019 and I am not upgrading in the event the client requires further changes to our custom code.

We have switched to iSpring to handle our WCAG 2.0 compliance projects since then.

Michael Cerantola

We had to create our own Javascript code from the first slide in the Storyline project - from there, we manually created our own hotkeys to use the transcript, menu, previous and next buttons, and edited Storyline's base code to prevent repeats and auto screen reading. 

The only thing we couldn't get rid of is the title being read by NVDA, so we advanced the audio every slide to begin as of 2 seconds, which gave NVDA enough time to read out the new slide name.

Javascript is unfortunately not my area of expertise, there was a lot of R&D from our coders to achieve this - that is why we were initially shocked/sad when the next update broke all of our code, which made us make the hard decision to remain on December 2019 to keep our code in tact.

It is quite lengthy and I don't understand much of it.

I do not think I have the authority to share this IP - and, if you aren't on the December 2019 version yourself, I can guarantee that it will not work :( I do not think Storyline has a past archvie site to roll back this far.