Recent accessibility improvements in Storyline 360

We know it’s important for you to be able to create accessible e-learning—not just because it’s a compliance issue, but because it’s critical to build training that’s inclusive. And we’re committed to delivering the features you need to help you do that.

We’ve taken some important steps to empower you to create accessible e-learning content. We’ve partnered with accessibility experts, Deque, to audit our products and help us prioritize new features and feature enhancements. We’ve also worked closely with a large, diverse group of early access testers on features and feature enhancements to make sure any changes we’re making are the right approach.

Because of this work we’ve been able to roll out several new features in the past few months like the ability to add alt text and closed captions to your media library assets, as well as the ability to add closed captions to Rise 360 videos. 

We’ve also recently released several features in Storyline 360 that are focused on making the course player and slide content more accessible by standardizing the user experience so it’s more in line with other web experiences. These features also ensure that courses work with a broader range of screen readers, web browsers, and devices. 

Below is a broad comparison of the user experience before and after these enhancements.

Before

After

The Course Player

Screen reader users and keyboard users tabbed through every button and menu item in the player.

This approach was burdensome and inconsistent with other web navigation experiences, particularly for screen reader users.

The course player has been re-organized to make it easier for users of accessibility aids to understand where they are and move around quickly. 

This includes the use of ARIA landmarks and regions as appropriate (e.g. navigation regions), as well as restructuring of the player behind the scenes into discrete areas of functionality that follow a consistent order and hierarchy.

The course player in Storyline 360 supported the JAWS screen reader on desktop devices.

In addition to JAWS, the course player in Storyline 360 supports NVDA, VoiceOver, and TalkBack to view courses on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.

Navigating Slides 

 Just as they navigated the course player, screen reader users and keyboard users tabbed to move to, or focus on, each individual 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.

Navigation has been made more consistent with other web experiences. 

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.

Screen reader users press their screen reader’s navigation keys (typically the down / up arrows) to move through all text and interactive objects in order. 

Most objects in Storyline were drawn as shapes. For example, a radio button would be drawn as a circle with a dot instead of a standard HTML radio button.

This allowed for more control over the appearance of published courses in different web browsers, but wasn’t compatible with assistive technologies.

Now, most objects on your slides are rendered as standard HTML that follows best practices for web accessibility.

This means your learners can use a broader array of accessibility aids, such as screen readers, to navigate your courses much the same way they browse web pages.

 

Our work in this area is ongoing. We’re digging into all of the helpful feedback you’ve shared with us so far as well as the improvements identified by our outside accessibility experts. We’re also hotlisting and addressing critical bug fixes, and we’re reviewing ideas for more feature enhancements. You can learn more about the steps we’re taking in our roadmap.  

We’re on this journey with you and we’re listening. We know new ways of doing things may take some time to get used to—for you and for your learners. We’re here to help and we appreciate your feedback and suggestions.

38 Replies
Cary Glenn

Many of us are seeing weird results when using a screen reader and the focus is on the seek bar  sometimes the screen reader will read out a string of numbers and letters (maybe random, maybe it is something from html or some kind of identifier) or it is reading out the seconds which makes it near impossible to hear what the narrator is saying.

Jacek Kuczynski

Thanks Simon, I can confirm that neither JAWS nor NVDA reads the slides properly. NVDA stopped reading the body text after a few slides. JAWS has got too many bags and also sometimes doesn't progress to the next slide (not to mention it reads the slide title 3 times in a row and reads buttons twice). Summarising, the blind people don't have ANY tool to use with the SL courses. 

Lauren Connelly

Hi Brett!

I'm happy to help! Based on the linked discussion, it sounds like the issue you're referring to is a screen reader not reading text boxes. Is this correct?

If so, Simon explained how Navigating Slides works in the table above. 

Navigation has been made more consistent with other web experiences. 

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.

Screen reader users press their screen reader’s navigation keys (typically the down / up arrows) to move through all text and interactive objects in order. 

Please let me know if you have any other questions about the recent accessibility changes.

David Breen

Any chance we can keep the feature that allows users with slower internet that is found in many rural areas the ability to Download to their Tablets so they can view in Offline Mode?

That would really create accessible e-learning content for everyone.. That would be great.

If this in not possible, perhaps an option to export so Modules have a Pre-Loader that loads the entire course before a user begins so that courses would run better even on slower internet.

Vincent Scoma

Hi David and Nicole,

Thank you for reaching out and voicing your concern over the Articulate Mobile Player for offline viewing. Since AMP courses rely on Flash output, there won't be an option to view courses offline when Adobe discontinues Flash on December 31, 2020. We have been tracking requests to continue support for offline viewing, so I will make sure the right team sees the comments provided here.

We will be sure to share more details as soon as we have an update to share! 

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Tara,

Not a stupid question at all - I'm glad you asked! 

I would always recommend testing your course in the environment your learners will use to ensure you experience it as they would. So look to publish for LMS and upload there to properly test! If you're able to connect with learners who use screen readers, it'd be helpful to get their insights too, as that experience is much different than those of us who don't normally use screen readers.

Our team is also looking into an issue in Storyline 360 where the content published for Web and Review 360 behave slightly different with the accessible player, and that's all the more reason to publish for LMS and test there.  

Kimberly Masloski-Anderson

I'm a new user of Articulate and am now faced with figuring out accessibility requirements on a new course. This thread and the documentation on this subject out here is very helpful and will come in handy. Question, does Articulate have a 508 accessible/compliant template that can be used as a starting point to help out a beginner?

Katie Riggio

Hello there, Soren!

I'm sorry that I don't have an update to share about customization options for Closed Captions yet. We're closely tracking requests, so I'll let our team know that it is crucial to your development of accessible courses. 

As you've seen, we're targeting several accessibility improvements and promise to stay in touch as soon as there are more details.  

For now, there are a few crafty JavaScript approaches: Check out this first and second discussion!

Katie Riggio

Welcome to the community, Kimberly. We're glad you're here!

Is there a 508 accessible/compliant template?

I'm not familiar with a template for this since every course is unique.

A good place to start is to check out the resources below. They cover important design considerations and walk you through some of the key Storyline 360 features you need to know to create accessible courses:

Let me know if any more questions pop up! Happy to continue the conversation.

Katie Riggio

Happy Tuesday! ☀️

Say hello to Update 41 for Storyline 360: As with Web and LMS output, you can now experience the latest accessibility enhancements added in Storyline 360 when you publish courses to Review 360. Learn more.