Storyline Tab order for Accessibility.

Oct 03, 2012

I’m currently working on a compliance module, trying to convince the Powers that Be at my agency that Storyline will produce accessible trainings, so we can buy it and use it (so I don’t have to keep using SoftChalk).  I’m on a trial version.

I need help with tabbing.

I'm attaching a zip file that has a storyline .story that has the slides in question.  Since I wrote this originally a few days ago to Articulate support, I've tried some twists on my original slides to try to improve their usability.  Those trials, with some descriptions in the Notes section, are also included in the attached .story.

I’ve got a page of interactions, for example, that has 3 tabs on the left.  You click each one to view info on that subject (borrowed from a downloaded template).  Works like a charm for mouse-and-sight users.  Sort of works OK for a sighted keyboard user (3 tab example.png attached). The problem is with JAWS.
Problem is, for a screen reader, to read what’s in the big explanatory text field that's on the layer that opens when you click the tab, you have to tab to that object/text box.  Ideally it would be the next thing that came up when you hit TAB.  Is it?  No.   I improved things a LOT by unchecking the “visible to screen reader” checkbox in Size and Position for all the colored shapes, etc., but it’s still problematic.  The text that the user needs to read, and logically should come next, is 6 tabs away.
It’s even worse on this other slide, where there are 10 circles, each with a name of a group protected from discrimination (Race, Religion, Disability, etc.), and every circle opens a different layer containing info on that group (screenshot in word doc). 

Sometimes you have to tab 12 or more times to get from the original circular button to where the JAWS user can actually "see and read" the text on the new layer.
Any suggestions? 

So, one enhancement I want to suggest or +1 is to make the tab order adjustable by the developer.  I've submitted this as an enhancement request.  But this is beyond that I think – I need to dynamically adjust tab order (and/or visibility to screen reader) as part of a trigger.
With the Protected Groups slide (the one above with the circle of circles), one of the alternate versions for JAWS is where all other group circles are disabled except the next one that you will click.  This reduces the total number of tabs to “get to the goodies” but is involving a TON of triggers.

This work (with a dozen triggers for each of a dozen layers) causes me to want another enhancement: macros that allow me to bundle multiple triggers.  What I came up with is to put dozens of triggers on an invisible layer and call it up every time someone clicks on a button.  A numeric variable ultimately tells that invisible "macro layer" where to go next after it's done its work.

I'd really like some feedback about how other people are handling tab order, or how specifically you would modify these slides so they're not frustrating for a JAWS user.

90 Replies
Fiona Macelli

So much workaround!  Storyline really needs to make this easier. I guess keep submitting feature requests and they'll get the idea that people need authoring tools that are useful for creating accessible content, not just those that make it theoretically possible.

Something I've been playing with as a workaround that seems so far to work: If you put objects on a variety of layers on a particular slide, Storyline seems to tab Top-to-bottom and left-to-right through each of them in the order of when they are triggered to appear (not in the layer order).  I can't say this with certainty yet, but it does seem to offer some potential control over tabbing order if you're willing to do the extra work. From what I can tell, it leaves the base layer until last.


Luke Stollings

This is wonderful news! Thanks for putting tab order on the priority list
and coming up with a solution!

Now... my accessibility folks tell me flash output doesn't cut it from an
accessibility standpoint (pixelation when magnified; not accepting
accessibility settings on the home computer like contrast). Any reason the
HTML5 output won't also work?

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Duy,

I haven't heard of the Zoom screen reader, but we do support Jaws as detailed here.  You'll want to ensure you're running the latest update of Jaws and I believe they only support the latest edition of Internet Explorer. Also, you'll want to open Jaws before you open the course within Internet explorer and you may want to review their help pages for other tips and tricks. 

If you continue to have difficulty and are confirmed testing it as outlined, we'd be happy to take a look at your .story file and you can send it along to our support engineers here. 

Fiona Macelli

You have to be using Storyline's Flash output I believe, and also Internet Explorer 11 and JAWS 16. Are you testing the output yourself? There is an option to "skip navigation by pressing Enter to return to the slide" - therefore bypassing the player, but if you continue to press Tab, you should enter these player buttons.

Oh, I assume your navigation buttons are located on the player (and not on the slide?).  If they're on the slide, you might just have the visibility to accessibility tools turned off.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Fiona,

Although not all of these are specific to accessibility, I wanted to share here:

Also, there is the overall comparison chart here that may help narrow down on specific features you're looking to see. 

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