Storyline and JAWS - setting course up and testing with JAWS

Aug 17, 2012

We have a course for a client that needs to be 508 compliant. We've been learning Storyline along with the rest of you (and likely, not as quickly), and trying to set it up correctly to also be 508 compliant. The closed captioning is set up and working based on following tutorials  from this community ("Generating Closed Captions" - thank you Steve Flowers!). 

Our issue is in getting JAWS to read the course - I'm not sure if it's an LMS issue, or pieces I need to set up in Storyline that I haven't done.

We have tried to have a user who is blind test a sample of the course (5 slides) using JAWS on our LMS and also on ScormCloud. Each time she has tried, she has not been able to get farther than pressing enter to view the course and hearing:

~ the name of the course

~scormdriver_content frame

~scormdriver_content frame end

She tried pressing enter on each thing and nothing would start the course.

Our LMS employee tried to set the course start in a new window, and downloaded JAWS to test on his end. His response was:  She is right that nothing plays initially.  What she couldn't know is that Jaws is able to read some of the content.  When I click on the buttons or Nav links, Jaws reads the buttons.  It also reads the titles when I navigate the menu (it reads what I click on though, doesn't read it ahead of time.)  When I use the slash key, JAWS Tells me there are no clickable buttons.  It doesn't read any of the content either. 

I submitted a support case to Articulate to see if there are steps we are missing in the course. I gave the LMS person's response above. After a couple back and forths, the response I have from Articulate is: JAWS will only read the items that are highlighted.  It won't read anything ahead.  If it did read anything ahead, it would clash with the narration that is already on each slide & only confuse the end-user even more.  Finally, our output doesn't support the Slash key in the sense that the slash key will move to the next clickable item.  This shortcut key is typically associated with HTML content.

Honestly, I'm still lost. I've looked at all the tutorials I can find, and I'm just not seeing the post that makes it all click and make sense. I realize we must be missing several things here. 

Is there someone that has knowledge of working with JAWS that would be willing to either give suggestions or test our sample (published or storyline format) to see what we are missing?

  • Are there variables or triggers I need to place in the course specifically related to JAWS - ex. keystrokes, and if so, do those go on the master slides?
  • Our course currently has 7 scenes, and within each scene the slides advance automatically. For JAWS, do they instead need to advance by user?
  • From what I'm seeing in other posts, someone using JAWS needs to be able to turn the audio off, correct? 
  • Our quiz questions are all true/false or multiple choice.
  • Our full course is about 80 slides  (a 40 minute course) with full audio, and 2 1 minute videos at the beginning.

Would greatly appreciate your help.

49 Replies
Kristin Augusta

Hi Josh and Laura -

Have you discovered a solution to this.  Running into this issue for the first time.  There's really no way for our blind participant to see what is highlighted - so it's a goose chase for him to tab through to what is highlighted - he doesn't know when he's landed on "next" because it says "image" for the player's next button....

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Kristin,

This thread is a bit older, so I'm not certain Josh and Laura are still subscribed. You could send them a private message to see if they're able to update you on their status, but you may also want to review the information here on Storyline's 508 compliance.  I did find another thread (also from Laura) where it was determined that it was also browser specific and needed to be in IE. 

Also, I wanted to mention how the highlight will move - by default, the yellow box will travel from the upper-left corner of the slide to the lower-right corner. Here is some additional information on those tabs.

Laura Davies


Hi -I'm still here! I would love to be able to tell you that we figured everything out related to Storyline, 508 compliance and JAWS. Unfortunately, we never got much farther than this post or others where I posted asking for tutorials, guides, or anything helpful related to 508 compliance course set up and testing.

While I haven't been searching lately, I've not seen Articulate post a 'best practices' for how to set a course up best for 508 compliance, or what steps need to be followed to test it correctly with a JAWS reader. In one post I was told by Jeanette Brooks (Sept 2012 "tutorial on 508 compliance) it was 'in the works' and would be coming soon, but that it was difficult to set up guidelines since all 508 might be client-specific on what they required. 

Ultimately, our government client has our "screen reader" version of the course we created for them, but there hasn't been anyone on their end with JAWS that was able to successfully test the course and provide feedback. Our other way to have workable content for a user needing 508 was to essentially create an ebook. We've not yet had another client requesting 508 compliance, so we moved away from the issue for now.

So, yes, Articulate will say it's compliant and point you toward their webpage that says it's compliant, but after a year and a half of asking on the forum for assistance, I've yet to see specific tutorials or best practices from Articulate on how to correctly set up the course so it can be tested. It's hard for most designers to test internally since we don't own JAWS.

Maybe I've missed information on best practices. I'm not on the forum regularly. I know many other forum members have come up with bits and pieces of 508 solutions. 

Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Thanks Dom for sharing that here, and I do believe that JAWS only offers support for the latest version of IE and the latest version of JAWS - I'm not sure about the NVDA and OSX support options - but you'll also want to confirm you're viewing Storyline content in our documented/supported browsers here. 

Susan Jorstad

I work for the government so accessibility is a must. I am having the same problem that Laura Davies originally posted about. I have the course set up but JAWS doesn't recognize or read the content, whether I press Tab, enter, arrow, or other keys one might expect to trigger JAWS to start reading.  It reads the URL out loud, names of IE tabs, name of the module, and if I use a mouse (not allowed-everything has to be keyboard accessible) I can get JAWS to read some of the text boxes on the screen. It just keeps saying "tab" out loud every time I press tab, but doesn't go to the various tab-ordered elements on the screen, including the navigation/player. While I'm a sighted user, I've taken JAWS classes and test with JAWS, so I know a bit about how this should work. It is not straightforward.

Dom-what did you learn from your work experience student? What's the trick to getting JAWS to read the module content to screen reader users?


Christie Pollick

Hi, Susan -- Thanks for reaching out, and I see that you have directed a question to Dom. Since a bit of time has passed since the last activity in this discussion, it's possible that he may no longer be subscribed. If you'd like to reach out to him directly, please feel free to do so via the 'Contact Me' link on his profile page. 

Christie Pollick

Sure thing, Susan! I also wanted to note in case you were not aware, when you reply to a forum notification via email, the details in your signature are displayed publicly here in the discussion. In order to protect your privacy, you are welcome to click here to be taken to the post itself, and then you will be able to use the EDIT button below your reply to remove that information. :)

Wendy Farmer

Hi Leslie

I posted this in another thread but really need a quick answer

I'm using SL360 latest version, JAWS version for testing.

For Multiple choice questions, Jaws is reading the option in normal state (no radio button selected) but once the radio button is selected it won't announce it is selected.

I saw there was a bug logged for SL3 but is there one also logged for SL360 and is there a workaround? I'm on a deadline and have 3 modules all with MC quiz assessments that need to be accessible - HELP...

Alyssa Gomez

Hey Wendy! Happy to help. 😁

We were seeing a bug like this in Storyline 360, but we released a fix for it in Update 10. 

Could you test this sample file using JAWS and let me know if you hear it announce the radio button as selected?

I tested in Internet Explorer, and when I tabbed to a selected answer choice, JAWS announced, "Radio button checked." Here's a screen recording of my testing. 

Let me know if you're seeing something different! 

Wendy Farmer

Hey Alyssa

your test file works fine but when I download and run the sample file through I get this.

I don't get the instruction to use up/down arrows (when I click the up/down arrows nothing happens) like you do to make a selection, I use enter, which changes the radio button to selected but there is no announcement unless I go through rest of tab order and come back to the selected option.

With my SL360 file it is an upgraded SL2 file could that be making any difference?

Wendy Farmer

Hi Alyssa

yes I am otherwise how do they know the option they have selected has been actioned - at the moment unless they tab all the way through past the Submit and back again? Could definitely be me that's wrong...really appreciate you looking into it.

Also your file announces to use Up/Down arrow to select the radio button, when I play your file it doesn't.

Alyssa Gomez

Hi again Wendy, thanks so much for your patience! I tested this functionality in all versions of Storyline and got some insight from our QA team on exactly what we would expect JAWS to read. 

Our output doesn't support a "real time" change in the state of a radio button. In other words, JAWS doesn't read "Radio button selected" as soon as a user selects it in any version of Storyline.  So, it's expected that you would have to tab back to a selected radio button to hear that's it's checked.

In my video you heard JAWS read "Use the up and down arrows to change your selection."  If you didn't hear the same thing, it's likely because we're using different versions of JAWS. This is a known issue our team is looking into, and I'll tag this thread to be updated as soon as we hear more on that.

Let me know if that helps to clear things up!

Susan Jorstad

Is there any update on the issue of JAWS reading "Use the up and down arrows to change your selection"? I'm wondering what is telling JAWS to read that and if there is any way to get rid of those erroneous instructions. In my experience, pressing the up and down arrow keys does nothing; users need to press "enter" or the spacebar to select the radio button, but even then JAWS reads, for a T/F question "True Radio Button Not Checked" even when it is. Using Storyline 3.