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
Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Susan,

The Enter/Spacebar is what you'd use to select an item, and as Alyssa mentioned JAWS will only read out that it is selected after you've navigated back to it from somewhere else.Our team is still working on the issue with the reading out of "up/down" so we'll let you know here once that's ready! 

Sajna Thomas


There is an issue that we are facing with JAWS....pls note we are using latest JAWS and Chrome browser. We notice that at some places JAWS suddenly starts to read the file name and there is overlapping of JAWS audio and the course's slide's video...

The client wants to know why it reads the module name in between suddenly??? For example, it read "More Help Needed Now_Mar-1" More Help Needed Now is our module name....This is not on the course itself, but they wanted to know if it is picking it from the meta.xml file, in which this name is mentioned.

Pls help

Phriendly Phishing

Same here. Clients are not happy with the way JAWS reads the SL quizzes. Along with the false up/down arrow instruction, the invalid feedback message pops up and I cannot seem to find an accessibility (alt text) for this feedback. Hoping this is not an issue once the up/down arrow issue has been resolved. 

Crystal Horn

Hi there, SP.  We are still reviewing the arrow key issue as part of broader accessibility improvements we're excited to be making.

The way the Storyline player is currently built, we're able to make incremental improvements, but we want to aim higher. So we're working on a better player structure that'll provide industry-leading accessibility support. We have several enhancements planned to comply with the latest accessibility standards across more screen readers and web browsers.

I can't share details about a timeline yet, but we'll let you know when these features are ready.

Simon Taghioff

Hi everyone,

I wanted to share a few more details on our work in this area.

First up, we strongly believe that as many people as possible should be able to fully experience training created with our tools.

As accessibility requirements and standards have evolved, we recognize that our authors have found it increasingly challenging to create accessible content using our authoring tools.

We’ve been investing in accessibility improvements in our tools for some time. Closed captions, text-to-speech, and improved management of alt text and captions in media library are a few examples in Storyline alone.

We’ve also been working behind the scenes for well over a year to fundamentally restructure our published output. We’re working on additional accessibility features for Storyline, with the goal of making it fully compliant with WCAG 2.1 and s.508:

  • Our initial focus is the player frame. We’re improving the way learners move around a course, ensuring that all controls, menus, and dialogs are correctly labeled and structured. This work has been progressing well and we’re aiming to have an early version in Beta in Q3.
  • Next, we’ll tackle the slide content itself, starting with the basics (reading text, navigation, layer interactions) before addressing specific areas like quizzing, interactions, and media playback.
  • Finally, we’ll be improving key workflows in Storyline to expose new functionality and make it easier to create inclusive courses without a lot of extra effort.

We’ve had ongoing conversations with our customers and will be addressing a number of longstanding accessibility issues and reported bugs as part of this work. We’ll also be expanding our official support for screen readers beyond JAWS to include other popular tools on desktop and mobile.

We’re not ready to talk about timings in detail yet, but we’re planning to roll out improvements in phases, starting with the player frame. We’re aiming to get the first improvements released towards the end of this year.

We’re committed to making Storyline courses accessible to learners with a wide range of abilities and needs and look forward to working with our customers to get there.

If you're interested in participating in the Beta process when we're ready to start testing, please email

- Simon

Teresa Vanderpost

Nice to see this update.  Please keep in mind how your Tab Ordering works when building an accessible course.  I have submitted the issue/request many times.  How the Tab Orders window is very inflexible with ensuring the order of items will tab properly with someone using a keyboard.  Layers show up in list before base layer, can't see full names of items, can't drag and move items in order, very time consuming one click at a time.  Anyway, just a reminder that the Tab Order screen needs help to help the author ensure the course is accessible :)  I would love to be part of the beta process.

Ren Gomez

Hi Everyone,

Thank you all for continuing to share the crucial need for creating accessible content for all learners. While more work remains, we're at a point where we're confident the work done so far delivers meaningful real-world improvements for learners with accessibility needs. I've included links below where you can find all the details on what this means for Storyline 360 Update 36:

You'll also find our general FAQ on accessibility in Articulate 360 tools here.

This release makes it significantly easier for those users to perceive, operate, and understand content published with Storyline, while opening up more choices of browser, assistive technology, and devices for the first time. Learners will benefit from the vast majority of these improvements, even when the course author is not designing their course for accessibility. 

If you have any questions or concerns, let us know here or reach out to our Support team. We know there is more to do, so we'll continue to keep you posted about future releases.

Kyle Mackie

I don't see how the skip navigation addition lends anything to the accessibility of the user experience. What it does, is provide a shortcut to the NEXT slide link - bypassing the other navigation links. So, now it takes longer for users to get to the other useful controls (like turning on the captions, adjusting audio, etc) is this helpful?

Emily Webster

Anyone having trouble with quiz slides and JAWS navigation?  I am able to tab from the question to the first answer, but then the "Skip navigation" comes up and I'm not able to tab through the answer choices.  Is there a way to disable the skip navigation for just quiz slides and not the entire project?

Lauren Connelly

Hi Emily!

Great question! Are you using a multiple-choice question with radio buttons? 

I'm happy to help explain how to navigate quiz questions using keyboard navigation! With radio buttons, you'll need to tab to the first radio button and then use the up/down arrow keys to move through the following radio buttons. This isn't specific to Storyline, but it's actually how you would also navigate radio buttons on the web.

If you want to see these steps in action, you can find a short tutorial here. I've also linked the JAWS keyboard navigation chart here.

Lastly, the Skip Navigation button is an all or nothing setting in Storyline 360, so there isn't a way to add the button to select slides.

Emily Webster

Hi Lauren,

Thank you for the response.  Can you tell me is this something that changed with the last update?  I have created courses with quizzes before in Storyline and my JAWS users have been able to tab through the multiple choice options before without issue.  It has just been in this most recent publishing that we are running into this issue.

Ren Gomez

Hi Emily,

These changes were made in the January 2020 version of Storyline 360. This article on how to navigate multiple-choice questions also delves a bit further into the difference between screen reader and keyboard-only users. I hope this helps!

Maria Costa-Stienstra

Hi, Wendy.

I have great news to share!

We just released another update for Storyline 360. In Update 50, we’ve included important fixes and new features.

One of the features we’ve included is:

The modern player meets WCAG accessibility guidelines for visual contrast and color so all learners can read the text, decipher the icons, perceive the controls, and navigate easily. Learn more about modern player accessible contrast.

To take advantage of this update, launch the Articulate 360 desktop app on your computer and click the Update button next to Storyline 360. You'll find our step-by-step instructions here.

Please let us know if you have any questions by posting here or by reaching out to our Support Engineers directly. 

Teresa Vanderpost

Hi Wendy, is this not available with the Classic Player?  We only use the classic player based on how the menu works, we don't use the Modern Player as it is either on the side bar or a slide out and our users struggle with it.  So we use Classic to keep the Menu in the top left.  Would hope that any accessibility improvements would be on both players.

Wendy Watson

Hi Teresa,

This was only an issue with the modern player because the color choices are limited to presets and the preset options failed color contrast testing for the font color and background choices. In the classic player you can customize the colors so have control as a developer of the contrast.

This is fantastic news that the update has just been released. I'm off to take a look at next.


Joe Boss

Hi, it seems we're also running into issues with JAWS compatibility. Reading the notes above, I can see the introduction of Alt Text.

One of our users has explained issues with navigation options not being rendered by Jaws. I have moved to custom Next/Previous buttons as the lower right-hand side ones are very small regardless. Is there anything specific I should do to ensure those types of custom buttons are picked up by JAWS or similar?