Screen readers and layers

I am working on a project that we are testing for accessibility using NVDA and JAWS.
A lot of the information we are providing is using buttons that reveal layers. 

The problem we are having is that there doesn't seem to be any way for the screen reader to automatically read the information on these layers. With the latest updates to Storyline, navigation using a screen reader is with the standard keyboard navigation, the down arrow or insert down arrow to read all text on a page.

When someone activates a button and a new layer appears there is no indicator that there is new information on the page that needs to be read by the screen reader. 

As a sighted person I can see that the screen has changed, and I am able to select insert down arrow to hear the new information - someone who requires this software cannot do this.

Is there something I am missing from the build process or are layers not usable with screen readers?

2 Replies
Sam Hill

Hi Emma, the only way to force the screen reader to read new layers is to select the slide property that prevents the user from clicking on the base layer. This exclusivity seems to trigger the content to be read. You then have a new problem to overcome in that the base cannot be selected, and so you might have to add some duplicated items to the layer (navigation etc).

I agree that this is a little annoying. Coming from a hand coding background, we could add directive to content to force it to be read such as aria-live="assertive". The only other suggestion would be to add screen reader only instructions to let users know they must navigate down with their arrow keys to read the content.