Screen Reader Skip Navigation Question

Hi All,

According to this article the learner using a screenreader may skip the past the navigation on a slide. How does this work? I have JAWS to test it with. I don't recall hearing this option. Would it be offered at the beginning when the learner enters each new slide? or only at the end if they are needing to tab back through the content on the slide? I want to have it so learner never has to go through the navigation if they don't want to do so- (at least not more than once).




7 Replies
Noel Sapp

It appears that I am now correctly hearing the JAWS screen reader reference the Skip Navigation option which, when Tabbing through the slide content, comes after the last slide element and just before the first default navigation button (in my case, before the "PREV" button). Clicking Enter or Space Bar returns my reader to the first element on the slide.

I am currently using JAWS Version 2020. 1910.54 ILM, if that helps.


Free bump on this topic. Same question! I notice there is what appears to be an empty tab element right before tabbing into the default Previous and Next buttons. Based on the text in your link, it seems as though "the screen reader will instruct you to press the spacebar or Enter key if you want to skip player navigation."

That does not appear to be happening for me and is, instead, silent without and audio reference by the screen reader as to what it is or what to do with it. The instructions suggest that this is where the audio announcement should be though.

So what I'm experiencing is as follows:

  • User enters slide.
  • JAWS reads: Course name, Slide Title, Slide contents (I can tab through the slide elements).
  • After the last Slide element is read, I tab again. Clearly something is there and invisible, but nothing is spoken through JAWS. I believe this is supposed to be the Skip Nav option.
  • Tabbing past that then reads the Previous button. Tabbing again reads Next. Tabbing against jumps to the many Menu tab if you have that panel open in your export.

What am I missing?

Lauren Connelly

Hello Michelle and Noel!

Happy to help troubleshoot this! Have you customized the Tab Order in the course? This exact feature is to guide the learner through the slide. It also tells JAWS what to read. 

Secondly, would you mind sharing the .story files that you are referring to? I'd like to run tests on my end to see if there a setting we need to change or if it might be a software bug.

You can attach the .story file to this discussion by using the "Add Attachment" button.

Noel Sapp


Thanks for the quick response. I should edit my post as I do now hear the JAWS reader instruction to use the Enter or Space Bar key to skip navigation. I did not hear this early December when I was reviewing a previous draft of a project. Perhaps there has been an update either in Articulate or JAWS that reads this correctly now. Perhaps I am just an idiot and misclicked. ;)

With that more or less resolved, I would still like some clarification if you could provide it? This may also answer some of the original poster's ideas on Skip Navigation as well.

  1. So the navigation process, through JAWS, is to TAB through slide content one element at a time (based on my manually adjusted Tab Order window). After tabbing past the last slide element, JAWS highlights an invisible field and reads:

    "Skip navigation. Press Enter to return to the slide. Button: to activate, press Space Bar." 

    Clicking either Enter or the Space Bar then sends JAWS back to the first element of the slide (not the title of the slide, but whatever the next ordered item is after the title). Is this correct?
  2. Conversely, ignoring that Skip Navigation option and tabbing through will then continue to the default Previous button and then on to the Next button. Correct?
  3. If I continue tabbing (instead of clicking on one of the navigation buttons), I return to the left-most menu table of contents list and JAWS reads, "Frame: Tab. Menu Tab selected, 1 of 2" where "2" is ever how many tab elements I have chosen to include in the player menu during export. In my case, I have Menu and Notes.
  4. Oddly, I cannot access the Table of Contents list directly from the Menu tab button using the Tab navigation. Instead, I need to Tab FROM Menu, TO, Notes, and then TO the menu list before I am able to use the Up/Down arrow keys to move through my outline Table of Contents list. I would assume I would access the ToC item list from the first Menu tab button. Instead, I need to Tab through three times before I can access the list. In comparison, once I've tabbed to the Notes tab button, I can press Enter and have access to the Notes text. I assume clicking Enter from the Menu tab should give access to the ToC list under it. That does not seem to be the case. Is this correct then that the Table of Contents list that visually sits within and under the Menu tab button is not accessible until clicking further into the menu tab structure?
  5. Is there a way to control the Tab appearance order of the left-most window contents such as Menu and Notes? We generally use slide Notes as a strictly clean text version of the slide contents, in case anything designed within the slide may cause confusion for those using assistive technologies. It would be nice to be able to provide the Notes content first in the Tab order for such users rather than requiring them to tab through the entire slide before being able to listen to the Notes content. I know that I can control slide CONTENT tab order, but in that Notes are part of the player build, I do not know how to access any type of ordering control for that.
  6. Finally, are there any keyboard command keys for the USER through the online Classic Player that we can provide users of assistive technologies a method of accessing the Menu, Notes, or for Navigating slide to slide? As it is, it seems that one can only Tab through every slide element to eventually land on what the user may be looking for. For example, is there a default shortcut key to jump to menu (CTRL + M, perhaps)? Or to jump to Notes? Or to skip to the next or previous slide (for example, Page Up or Page Down)? The only command keys I have found are for the developer work flow and not the end user navigation.

I am currently using JAWS Version 2020. 1910.54 ILM

I know that I am flooding with you questions, some of which may be off topic to the original post. I do think this could help provide developers some more perspective though and help control expectations of what is or is not possible within Storyline360.


Thanks in advance for any insight you may be able to provide.

Lauren Connelly

Hi Noel!
Happy to help and answer the questions that you’ve listed!

1. and 2. Correct! This is intended to allow the user to return to the slide content or to move through the Player which has the Title, Navigation controls, and Menu. I’ve explained this in this short tutorial. 

For questions 3., 4., and 5. I would need to see the course to understand the perimeters you have in place. 

Lastly, 6. Right now, TAB is how a user will move through the course. We understand how this meets accessibility guidelines but can be somewhat of a hassle for users. It is a topic our team is continuing to look into.

Thanks for taking the time to list the questions! They'll be helpful for others who come across this discussion.

Noel Sapp


Again thank you for your replies to my questions. As to questions 3, 4, and 5, I am unable to share the file for contracting restrictions; however, this is a very simple presentation slide deck with little to no customization aside from the occasional layer trigger for an interactive slide.

That said, the following is what I have set within the Player Properties - Storyline Player pop-up window, after clicking "Player" from the top menu Publish options:

Player Style: Classic

Player Tabs: Only Menu and Notes are checked.

Features: Title is checked with a text title included.

Sidebar: On Left.

Controls: Logo and Captions are checked.


Default stuff, really. To try to simplify my issues, let's look at it from what seems to be correct first. If I run through a published Storyline360 course, I have a panel on the left of my Classic Player screen that shows the Menu tab and the Notes tab---both of which I have checked in my Player Properties window noted above.

If I use my Tab key to skip through the slide content, I eventually land on "Notes" in that left panel. To activate the Notes so that my screen reader can read the notes specific to the slide, I hit Enter or Space Bar. I can then press my Tab once more to move to the first Note text in that window. Seems correct to me. I have Tabbed to my Notes, activated it, then I can Tab through that window's content.

This seems correct and provides a parent/child relationship for the screen reader.

Now let's do all that again, but this time my target is the Menu tab on my left panel.

I enter a slide and use my Tab key to skip through slide content. I eventually land on "Menu" in that left panel. Assuming that it should act like the Notes tab, I click Enter when my Menu tab is highlighted. From here, I would expect to then access the Table of Contents that is listed within the Menu portion of this panel. It does not.

Instead, I must Tab from Menu to Notes, then again Tab from Notes to now highlight the Table of Contents listing. It is as if Storyline is treating the Table of Contents Menu list as a third Parent (i.e., 1. Menu, 2. Notes, 3. Table of Contents) element rather than a Child element under Menu (as it is visually represented).

It is this awkward navigation that is creating concern without our 508 compliance staff and client officers. We are all expecting to click through the Table of Contents list upon activating the Menu tab button, as it does with the Notes tab button.

This seems to be a broken nesting type of deal where the child Table of Contents is not actually under its parent Menu tab button.

Michele Morgan


After conducting several trials, I finally gave up on using the Tab Order feature. My interactions were just too complicated and presented too much room for issues. I found the Skip Navigation command to be too quick and hard to hear. It seemed buggy to me.

Before you ask, Articulate, NO I cannot stop what I'm doing and send any files.