Screen Reader Accessibility for Button States

Hi there,

I'm having some trouble implementing accessibility for my Pick Many activities. Screen readers do not seem to recognize the difference between a Normal state and a Selected state of a button

I have a multiple choice question where the user can select more than one answer. I've made Normal state alt texts (Option 1, Option 2, Option 3, Option 4) and I've made Selected state alt texts (Option 1 Selected, Option 2 Selected, Option 3 Selected, Option 4 Selected). This way, a visually impaired user can know which answers he/she has already chosen before selecting the Next/Submit button.

It doesn't work though and the screen reader just reads the normal alt texts. Is there a solution around this? Thanks!

17 Replies
Alyssa Gomez

Hi there Ria,

Thanks so much for letting us know what's going on. Are you using Storyline 360? We do have an issue on our radar where changing the Alt Text within states retains the original Alt Text for JAWS. I'm really sorry this is giving you headaches, and I'm glad you reached out. Knowing how many people this affects really helps us prioritize issues.

For now, try using shapes instead of buttons. For example, insert a rounded rectangle, and style it to look similar to the buttons you have already created. Add Alt Text to both the Normal and Selected states, and you should be good to go. 

I hope this helps, and please reach out if you need any more help!

Matthew Bibby

Hi Alyssa,

Using shapes doesn't make any difference, the alt text of states is still being ignored in nearly all cases.

See here for a demo of JAWS and custom shape alt text.

The only way that I've been able to get the screen reader to pick up on alt text of states is by cutting the object out of the state and then pasting it back again. This way, it is picked up by JAWS, however, JAWS also sees the normal state so we end up getting two announcements for the same button when the selected state is visible. See here for a demo.

mat corrado

Hi Ria and Matthew,

As Alyssa mentioned, there is a bug on QA's radar about JAWS not narrating objects' states accurately.  I'm sorry it's creating problems for both of you!  I'd like to help each of you come up with the best workaround for your specific situations.  Any chance you can attach your .story files to this thread?  Or, you can create a case here, and be sure to include your .story files.

Thanks for your patience!

Matthew Bibby

Hi Mat,

Thanks. This is not just an issue for one project, but an issue for everything that I build as the majority of my courses need to be accessible. 

While I can workaround this issue sometimes by using multiple buttons (rather than button states), it leads to a lot of additional development and less than ideal outcomes in some cases. 

Are there any other workarounds that I might be able to use?

I'm glad QA are aware. I really look forward to seeing this bug get fixed!


Ameba Aaa

Hi all, 
I have a similar problem for checkboxes: the screen reader cannot read the selected status of checkboxes. If I try this workaround, the box is not shown selected, futhermore the text in selected status is overlying the normal status. 

What can I do to make readble the selected status, without creating multiple checkboxes and textboxes handled with triggers?

Ameba Aaa

I found out the reason! 
First all I updated to the last version of SL360. Then changed the alt text in the selected status. 
In order to listen the selected status, when checkbox is selected, you have to wait for Screen reader to read the entire sentence: i.e. checkbox contains the text "hello", so screen reader will tell "hello checkbox" and then you can select the box and listen the phrase wrote in the alt text of selected status (for example "hello selected checkbox").

Ameba Aaa

Sorry! But things seems to work randomly. I added a new Survey Question slide, pick many, but the state selected is not recognized by Jaws. It always read as not selected checkbox :(
I did a try with Chrome Vox extension for Google Chrome and for the first slide it works, but not yet in the second one with multiple choices. I know that just JAWS is compatible, but I wanted try anyway.

Is there something else to do? 

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Ameba, 

JAWS only supports the latest version of IE, so I can see that being a part of why it's not working in Chrome/Firefox. 

I'd love to have our team take a look at your project so we can see how it's working in IE11 though. As Mat mentioned earlier in this discussion we have some issues reported to our team, so the more examples of it the better! Can you share a copy of the .story file with our Support team here? 

Ameba Aaa

Sorry, maybe there was a misunderstanding, because the problem fixed is concerning JAWS and notes ( Actually, I published right now (update installed) an example course with two slides: the first one with multiple choice quiz and the second one with radio buttons; there is still the problem in html5 (not in flash reading correctly). Also on radio buttons, JAWS says "to change the selection press up or down arrow", but you can use only the space bar to select a radio button.