Screenreader not picking up alt text

Nov 20, 2020


I use NVDA to test for accessibility. Even though I check the box for the object to be accessible, NVDA does not pick it up. I asked a colleague to test it with his screenreader and he cannot pick up the alt text. I've attached the source file to review.

18 Replies
Lauren Connelly

Hello Rubina!

Thank you so much for sharing your file! I've tested the file on my end using NVDA, and I hear the alt text. How are you navigating the course? Are you using the arrow keys for text and the TAB key for buttons?

Also, I heard the background graphic read off even though it wasn't in the Focus Order. I've imported your course into a new project, and that did the trick. 

Would you mind sharing a Peek of what NVDA reads off on your end using the updated file?

Rubina Pak

Hi Lauren, 

Thank you for the response.  The tab key moves through the buttons (next, previous, volume, etc). But I cannot land on the graphics or the texts using tab or arrow keys. What keys are you using to land on the graphics?  I have been reading the NVDA manual and I can't figure out what changed since I last used NVDA when it all worked before.

Rubina Pak

Hi Lauren,

Thank you for the response. I actually have the checkbox checked on the objects. The issue I am having is that I cannot arrow up and down like you can and land on the objects. I think the issue may be with my NVDA configuration at this point. Not sure if it has to do with my laptop versus desktop, but at least I know that the screen reader is picking it up...just not mine.

Thank you

Jean-Guy  Boulay

Thanks Leslie, the tabbing audio was indeed an NVDA issue, I was using a MS store version of the app. When I downloaded it from the actual developer audio began to work properly. I still have an issue where the tabbing will not select any text boxes, but I might have a work around (although undesirable). I'll upload a version for the support engineers to investigate.


Leslie McKerchie

Thanks for the update, Jean-Guy.

Are you tabbing to the text box while using a screen reader? You'll want to navigate using the up/down arrow keys:

Learners use their screen reader navigation keys (e.g., Down and Up arrows) to move through all text and interactive objects on the slide, listening to each item along the way.

Please let me know if that works better for you in NVDA.

Jean-Guy  Boulay

I tried everything: tabbing, using arrows, NVDA turned on, NVDA turned off. The only thing that works is if I put the text inside a shape on the normal state with one additional button state of hover, or selected, or visited.

Since I have a course with over 1000 lines of dialogue, it's not something I want to do.

Jean-Guy  Boulay

Sadly Leslie your support department decided to send me a canned response saying that I have to use the arrow keys. If they had actually looked at my submission they would have seen my explaination that: it wasn't even working for images and buttons unless I added a default button state; that the arrow keys do absolutely nothing on the screen; and that I gave them a project to test.
I'm providing a publish from one screen that shows the issue.
The first card in the list has a "visited" button state, all the others don't. As you can see it's the only card that can be tabbed to.
The arrow keys do nothing and tabbing is only highlighting objects that have a default button state.

accessibility test screen

PS. the screen is from a course that is actually instructing how to market products to clients that have accessiblity needs. The irony that the product being used to build the course can't properly provide accessibility is not lost on the client.

Jean-Guy  Boulay

Support got back to me and provided me with additional details that changed my approach to finding a solution. One I think the client will be good with. It will only work with a screen reader active and it's highlighting turned on.  I was approaching it thinking the browser accessibilty highlighting would recognize the arrow keypresses. Thanks.

Leslie McKerchie

That's excellent news, Jean-Guy. I think the emails crossed in cyberspace.

In reading, it sounds like the confusion was more on the focus indicator vs. the screen reader reading contents with the arrow keys.

The focus indicator is beneficial for keyboard-only users to navigate to interactive objects. Screen reader users are familiar with using their arrow keys to navigate. Since keyboard-only users can see text and images, these objects get skipped when tabbing through the slide content, which reduces the number of keystrokes needed to navigate the slide.

Turning on the focus indicator in the screen reader is an option if this is needed, and I appreciate the update.