Question Regarding JAWS Reader Not Able to Select Specific Words in Text Boxes

Sep 13, 2019

Hey everyone!

I'm working on redeveloping an old, non-accessible course for my organization and essentially rebuilding it to WCAG 2.0 AA compliance. I'm using Storyline 360.

My organization had an external vendor do an audit of the various slide types to look for issues with compliance as well as general user-friendliness issues (i.e. where something may technically be "up-to-code" but not provide a great experience).

Many of the larger issues that surfaced centered on users who may be using screen readers, such as JAWS. Some of these were things I expected from my own research (such as crummy tab orders and crummy/nonexistant alternate text) but one issue was that users were frustrated that they couldn't single out individual phrases in text boxes (in other words, JAWS would just read the full paragraph without allowing them to select individual words, which could be overwhelming).

I've been searching around but I haven't found any insight on how I could fix that issue. Any ideas or suggestions?

4 Replies
Lauren Connelly

Hello Ashley!

Sounds like you have quite a job on your hands! Don't fret, we are happy to help!

First, I wanted to share this discussion which discusses converting courses for screen readers! It has plenty of resources that you might find handy.

Secondly, JAWS reads by tab order which also means reading an entire text box. There are ways around this that involve formatted text.  

Lauren Graves

Hey Lauren,

Thank you for taking the time to respond. If I'm understanding your response correctly, it looks like the main way I'd avoid this issue is by using tables. However, I'm a bit confused how this would accommodate what has been asked of me. Does this mean I'd need to somehow create a table with each word in a separate cell? That seems unlikely so I feel I must be misunderstanding something.

Jothan Sargent

Hi Ashley,

Our experience is that JAWS reads text in Storyline differently from a website in the sense that first off the text box needs to be in the tab order to be accessible (readable), and secondly that you can't really read the text one word at a time in JAWS like you can with a website. One thing you can do though is you can fiddle with the ALT text for a text box and change the formatting in there to make the screen reader pause at places where it normally would not pause by putting in a period or a comma for example. You might experiment with this to see if that is at all helpful. The caveat with this approach is that if you ever update your text box later on you need to again fiddle with the ALT text, so it creates a maintenance burden/headache.

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