Screen readers and different text in text states?

Apr 30, 2018

Hi everyone,

Storyline question. Working in SL3. I have a text field that has several states, each state has different text read. When testing for accessibility it seems to only pick up the normal text state on the screen reader even if the state is changed. Does anyone have any advice on how to get the screen reader to read the other states. Is there an easy way around this without using variables/more text boxes? Do screen readers not read other text states?

29 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Melissa,

I believe the piece that you're running into, and that Matthew is pointing to, is the issue where alt text on an object's other states is not read by JAWS. That is reported to our team as a possible bug and we'll let you know here as soon as we have an update. 

I also wanted to point out that our output has never supported a "real time" change in the state of an object. So, it's expected that you would have to tab back to it to hear that's it's checked/selected. 

Crystal Horn

Hey folks. I'm excited to let you know that we just released update 16 for Storyline 360! It includes new features and fixes - check them all out here.

One of the fixes addresses an issue where the alt text on an object's other states wasn't read by JAWS.

Here’s how you can update Storyline 360 to take advantage of everything the latest release has to offer. Let me know how you make out!

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Matthew,

We fixed this (and listed it in the release notes) in Update 7, but saw a few more instances of it reappear recently. Those were fixed in Update 16, and as it was a small number and already listed as fixed, it was left off for Update 16. Sorry if that caused any confusion! 

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Melissa,

Yup, all fixes you see in a Storyline 360 update will be included in the next update of Storyline 3. I don't have a release date set for that yet, but we'll let folks know in these discussions about that too. You'll also want to enable the check for updates so that you see that notice right away! 

Susan Nabonne Beck

Hi all, reopening a year old discussion here...

So my course just went through accessibility testing and the Selected state text was read by JAWS but only if the user tabbed to read it. Is that normal functionality? Or should JAWS automatically read it once the state changes?

Thanks so much...

Leslie McKerchie

Hi Susan,

Thanks for reaching out and sharing what you are seeing in your course.

Yes, tabbing to the item to be read would be the expected behavior.

If it's something you would like us to take a look at, feel free to share.

With your permission, you can share your project file with our support engineers to investigate what's happening. You can share it privately by uploading it here. It will be deleted when troubleshooting is complete.

Karin Carlson

Reopening what looks like a 2-year old discussion. As far as I can tell, using a screen reader with a Storyline project, the screen reader still doesn't read text in states at all, using tab/shift-tab/arrow keys, nada. Also, in case you were thinking that you'd get around this by using layers, the screen reader must read EVERYTHING on the base layer before it reads other layers, regardless of the tab order set. This requires some pretty goofy workarounds, namely, making a text box specifically for screen readers that contains all the text that is on either the state or the other layer, placing this text box on the base layer, and putting it just after the interactive element so if the person using the screen reader is using arrow keys to navigate, they will encounter it immediately after the button/hotspot is activated. It would be so golden if there were a way to incorporate ARIA or similar into a Storyline project so that when a state changed the accessibility tree was notified that there's something new that the screen reader needs to hear. 


- Karin

Richard Turner

I am working a government contract that is 508 compliance mandatory and the screen reader will not recognize the text boxes in my project. They appear in the Focus Order and I have even applied alt text to my text boxes to no avail. Is there a setting that I am missing.

I updated Storyline 360 on 5 Apr 2021.

 I right click on my text box and select accessibility. I select Object is visible to accessibility tools. I enter in my alt text. and I close. I then select Focus Order and ensure that my text box is present and the alt text is present. I then publish it for the web for my 508 compliance team to test.

I also open the file on Microsoft Edge and tab through the project. The text boxes are not tab able and I keep failing 508 compliance standards because of the text boxes not being read.

Any help you would be greatly appreciated.

Lauren Connelly

Hi Tonya!

I'm happy to help clarify!

It sounds like you're doing everything right in Storyline 360; however, text boxes can't be accessed using the TAB key. You'll need to use the up/down arrows to navigate to any element that doesn't require an action to take. 

The TAB key can only access interactive objects like buttons, hotspots, text entry fields, etc. Navigation keys like up/down arrows access text. 

Please let me know if you have additional questions!

Becca Levan

Thanks for reaching out, Rachel!

It would be helpful to attach your file here or provide a screen recording of what you're experiencing so we can help troubleshoot. If you prefer to keep it private, here's a link to upload it, and I'll delete once done testing!

Looking forward to your response so we can continue working on this!

Becca Levan

Hi Nick!

Thanks for sharing your file with these details—I can reproduce this behavior myself, and I see we have the issue reported where a screen reader doesn't read the states. I've added this discussion to the report we're investigating, so we'll be back here to report any updates. 

I appreciate you letting us know about this!