Storyline Tab Order Skipping


I have been working closely with the tab order tool and I previously had no issues. I was able to adjust the tab order, and then tab through the content in that order. Currently, when I try to tab through the content, it skips most of the content. Regardless of what the tab order says. For me, it only read the title and the two buttons on the slide. It completely skipped the text box, no yellow box or anything. I tested a few different options and I was unable to make it read the content via the tabbing.

I did notice that the tab order does work if I use the arrow keys. It reads all the content, just not when using the actual tab key.

Am I doing something wrong? Are users not supposed to use the tab key to view the tab order? I've gone through modules using a keyboard numerous times without this issue so I think it is new.



16 Replies
Leslie McKerchie

Hi Jessi,

With the latest update to Storyline 360, which is  Build 3.36.21213.0, we've made some enhancements to accessibility.

You specifically mentioned Tab Order, so I wanted to share this documentation which explains it fully.

In short:

  1. Text and images are read immediately by screen readers so learners don’t have to press any keys to hear the slide content. These objects are read in the tab order you defined in Storyline.
  2. Use your screen reader's navigation keys (e.g., Down and Up arrow keys) to move through the objects on the slide.
Jessi Auslander


It doesn't actually work that way though. When I start tabbing, the screen reader says, "slide" and then reads the title of the slide. and that's all that happens until I start using the arrow keys. There is a text box directly under the slide title that does not get automatically read.

Simon Taghioff

Hi Jessi,

The latest release of Storyline introduces a number of changes to the way Storyline content is presented to users with accessibility needs, including changes to the way ‘tab’ works.

The changes to the way tabbing works are intentional. They are part of a broader effort to improve our accessibility support. They bring Storyline content in line with the way learners with accessibility needs expect to navigate the web and the relevant WCAG guidelines. 

Screen reader users expect to use their screen reader's navigation keys (which might be mapped to e.g. the up/down arrow keys, as in JAWS or NVDA), without being forced to hit ‘tab’ repeatedly to read each piece of content on a slide.

The ‘tab’ key is mostly helpful for learners with motor accessibility needs. These learners can read the content but need a way to drive focus to interactive controls like buttons and links without manipulating a mouse pointer and clicking. Forcing them to hit ‘tab’ repeatedly just to get to the button or link they need is counter-productive, and may be physically burdensome for some learners.

Here’s the way things work now:

  • The ‘Tab Order’ dialog is still used to define what content screen reader users see and the order it’s presented to them - the ‘focus order’ for the slide.
  • Any interactive components such as buttons or links included in the focus order become the ‘tab order’. Users with motor accessibility needs can tab to these components while bypassing non-interactive objects like text.

We’ve validated this new approach over the past several months with a large and diverse group of Early Access testers, and have solicited feedback from outside accessibility auditors to give us their take as well. We’re confident these changes meaningfully improve the real-world experience of using Storyline with assistive technologies. They also allow us to support a far broader range of screen readers, web browsers, and devices than ever before.

We understand that this new way of doing things will take some getting used to and welcome your ongoing feedback in this area.

We’ve documented all the improvements we've made to our accessibility support here:

I hope that's helpful and provides a little more context on the work we're doing and why.


Simon Taghioff
Product Manager, Articulate 360

Jackie Waskewicz

Hi Simon, 

I think the new accessible player is great. The fact that the player is aligning more closely with how keyboard users access content is fantastic. 

What are your thoughts on integrating courses that use the new accessible player with existing courses?

We've had to write instructions and support articles to assist learners with how they need to tab through our Storyline courses (as it is a different way to interact with content). We have an ARC (Accessibility Resource Center) where these instructions live. We have over 150 active storyline courses on our LMS right now. And as they come up for maintenance or annual changes over the past 3 years, they have been overhauled for accessibility. We, unfortunately, don't have the manpower/hours to go back through all of these courses to republish and recreate learning objects/courses in our LMS to replace the courses published with the old player. Frankly, we still have some untouched courses from 2014 that will probably never be cracked open.

I'm just curious if there have been any discussions or recommendations on how to proceed forward in a blended environment where one course in a curriculum may include the old player and one may include the new? Maybe using an accessible instruction slide? Other or thoughts?

We test all releases before allowing our designers to update to the newest version and right now will need to hold at Build 3.35.21017.0 while we figure something out.

Any thoughts or insights would be appreciated.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Jacki,

Great questions and things for all those in this community to ponder! I haven't seen a lot of examples based on our latest update, so I'll be following along with what other folks share. I often find an instruction slide can go a long way in helping folks make the transition to a new style and behavior - perhaps you have one in mind you can share here for others?

Also, I'll pass along the praise to our team. They worked incredibly hard on this new update and I know they'll appreciate that you're finding value in the work done. 

Kristen Llobrera

We use a slide at the beginning of courses to explain accessibility features/how tos. We'll have to rewrite all of that now I guess. 

I really appreciate that Articulate is spending so much effort in making Storyline as user-friendly as possible for learners with different abilities. I just wish there had been more info on it from the get-go! There was an email that mentioned vague improvements, but didn't mention the significant change in how the features work, so I was completely flummoxed when I tried testing my latest course and thought everything was broken.

Hugh Vaughan

Any chance of creating a video showing the new features in action? I've created a new Storyline project and added a few slides with some text and shapes inside. I've published and am using the Windows 10 Narrator software. It doesn't read any of the on screen elements, only the slide titles, back to top and previous/next buttons. All items have accessibility set and appear in the tab order.

Hugh Vaughan

By default all new objects placed on the stage have accessibility switched on. Is there a way to bulk switch off accessibility on selected objects? I have a course which was built a while ago and everything has accessibility switched on, including items in the master slides e.g. horizontal lines. I only want text to be readable, not interface elements.

Lauren Connelly

Hello Hugh!

I'm happy to help! I've explained a few of the changes in this short video.

There isn't a bulk setting to turn off the accessibility feature. However, this is customizable for each object!

Lastly, we don't currently support Narrator as a screen reader.  Here are the supported screen readers: NVDA, VoiceOver (macOSiOSiPadOS), TalkBack, and JAWS with our supported browsers on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices. (Note: JAWS has limited support for Microsoft Edge.)

Agnieszka O'Keeffe

Hi , for slides with a lot of layers the easiest way for me is usually select all layers on slide , select accessibility and click on tick box to deselect. (Just like in the video above, just select all layers at once.) Then I add accessibility to only important layers that need to be in tab order.  It has to be done slide by slide and also in masters separately.