Screen Reader Accessibility for Button States

Apr 21, 2017

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!

90 Replies
Katie Riggio

Great news, everyone!

To circle back on Ashley's post, I'm excited to share that we just released Update 34 for Storyline 360. It addresses the issue where JAWS did not read the alt text from Tab Order for objects with multiple states.

To see all the enhancements this version has to offer, follow these steps to update your software. Please let us know what you think!

Ren Gomez

Hi Everyone,

Thank you all for continuing to share the crucial need for creating accessible content for all learners. While more work remains, we're at a point where we're confident the work done so far delivers meaningful real-world improvements for learners with accessibility needs. I've included links below where you can find all the details on what this means for Storyline 360 Update 36:

You'll also find our general FAQ on accessibility in Articulate 360 tools here.

This release makes it significantly easier for those users to perceive, operate, and understand content published with Storyline, while opening up more choices of browser, assistive technology, and devices for the first time. Learners will benefit from the vast majority of these improvements, even when the course author is not designing their course for accessibility. 

If you have any questions or concerns, let us know here or reach out to our Support team. We know there is more to do, so we'll continue to keep you posted about future releases.

Jackie Waskewicz

Hi Susan, we are experiencing the same issue and opened a case. JAWS reads any custom state we create and apply alt text to, but it does not read the alt text of the built-in state (aside from the normal state). So if we use the Visited state, add alt text, apply a trigger to change it to visited once clicked, tab to trigger it, tab back and only the normal state alt text reads. However the same steps work successfully for custom states.

Vincent Scoma

Hi Everyone,

I have good news!

I am happy to share that we just released the newest version of Storyline 360 Build 3.37.21453.0, which fixed the issue where screen readers would only read the normal state of an object.

The next step is to update Storyline 360 by heading to your Articulate 360 desktop app and clicking "Update" next to Storyline 360. 

As always, we are happy to answer any questions you have by posting in this discussion, or you can contact our Support Engineers directly.

Ludovic M


I have buttons with visited states and NVDA does not read the visited state for standard button, but it reads it for "buttons" created from an image. The file was made in latest Storyline 360.
Please can you test the attached file and give a solution for standard buttons.

Lauren Connelly

Hi Ludovic!

I've noticed the same issue that you mentioned! The state isn't read off when the button changes to the visited state. We've logged this as a bug so that our Engineering team can begin investigating.

I'm so sorry this is affecting your course! I'll link this discussion to the report and we'll make sure to post in this thread when we have a fix.

Ren Gomez

Hi Shim,

Happy to help clarify here. Different states of an object aren't included in the Focus Order since screen readers automatically announce states for interactive objects. This article shares more:

Interactive objects are correctly identified to assistive technologies and function as expected. For example, screen readers properly announce radio buttons with their labels and current states.

Can you share more about what questions you have on layer objects? You'll notice they appear on the focus order and are read by a screen reader when the layer is visited.

shim z

I am working on a course to make it accessible.
I am adjusting focus order now for the screen readers.
I made my learning outcomes with button states. When the learner selects
button(Outcome 1) the text would appear.
So, my question is that I was looking at focus order where I didn't find my
text of learning outcomes. So I am really confused, Should it be there or
not? How will the screen reader find it?
HELP! See the attached screenshot.