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!

89 Replies
Ephra Graham

Hi there, 

I'm not sure if this issue is still active but I am having trouble getting both JAWs and NVDA to recognize the visited state of buttons. It is my understanding that the reader should recognize and say "visited..." and then the name of the button (or something like that). Unfortunately, this is not happening. Is there a recommended workaround? Perhaps adding the word "visited" to the alt text for the visited state of each button. This is not ideal but I need a workaround in order to complete the course I am developing. 

I welcome any and all suggestions. 

Thanks for reading. 

Lauren Ackley

I'd like to revisit this issue and bring up something I've been experiencing. I'm able to get the screen reader to read the selected state - this was accomplished by copying the object, deleting it, and pasting it back in - but when when the slide is tabbed through, if users go backwards it reads also the normal state text.

Andrea Koehntop

Hi Lauren!

Thank you for sharing the details of what you are experiencing. 

I tested this on my end and had the same outcome as you did with NVDA reading the selected state and the normal state text when the slide is tabbed through.

As a follow-up question: which screen reader are you using?

I can add your experience to the bug we are working on and update you with any news in this thread! 

Heather Durham

The post about screen readers not recognizing the assigned state of shapes is 6 years old and still a problem. I am currently working on shapes that function as buttons with normal and visited states and screen readers are still not recognizing the states. Any chance of this being addressed finally? It makes the functionality inaccessible for some people.

Sam Hill

Hi Heather (and anybody else this might help). A solution that can *sometimes* work, is to ensure that the default state of the element is defined in the Focus Order panel.

For example, the buttons Normal state text. I'm not sure why this has an impact, but it does. I can then have a custom state, and append the word "viewed" or "completed" to the ALT text in that state and it will be picked up by a screen reader.

There are still some sets of buttons that refuse to work, and I can't fathom why, as the set-up is identical.

Storyline focus order showing the button normal state has been defined in the Alternate Text column.

John Morgan

Hi Heather,

I'm sorry you are having an issue with your shapes/buttons being read by your screen reader! You are experiencing a bug in the software that has already been reported. I'm going to add your voice to the report. If there's any news regarding this bug, this conversation will be updated.

Thanks for letting us know about this!