Tab Order/Focus in Player

May 09, 2016

Is there a way for designers to alter the tab order for screen readers on the player?

I've been working to make courses more screen reader friendly.  We can set the tab order for content so the screen reader follows the correct flow in a slide, however I would also like to change the tab order in the player.  Currently the reader has to go through titles, menu, resources, etc. before getting to content and then after content has to go through search, volume, seekbar, etc. before getting to previous and next.  Although all of these tools are valuable and useful it would make more sense if the learner using the screen reader would first tab through the content in the slide and then tab to prev/next with the rest of the available tools (menu, resources, search etc.) tabbed to after the navigation button.  A user not using a screen reader doesn't read the menu every time they go to the next slide or read all of the buttons on the screen to find the prev/next button.  To make the screen reader experience better match the non-screen reader experiences the next button should go directly to the next content slide without making the screen reader go through the menu, resources, etc.  You can imagine the number of un-needed tabs it takes to go past all of the on screen information to get to content and then to navigate to the next slide and having to tab through the same on screen material to get to content.  A screen reader can skip player navigation by using the enter or space bar, but that returns the user to the first object on the current slide, not advance to the first object on the next slide.


5 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Bruce, 

You can skip player navigation elements—such as the sidebar, seekbar, and previous/next buttons—when you're tabbing through slide objects with a screen reader (Flash output only). Here's how it works:

  1. First, you'll tab through the slide objects in the order defined by the content author.
  2. When you press the Tab key after the last object on the slide, the screen reader will instruct you to press the spacebar or Enter key if you want to skip player navigation.
    • If you press the spacebar or Enter key, your next tab will jump back to the first object on the slide.
    • If you don't press the spacebar or Enter key, your next tab will proceed to the player navigation.

The option to skip player navigation when using a screen reader is always enabled. You don't need to do anything to activate it. Just install the latest update and publish your course.

Bruce Drummond

In those directions about skipping the navigation buttons...when it states:

"If you press the spacebar or Enter key, your next tab will jump back to the first object on the slide"

Does that jump back to the first object on the slide that is currently displayed or jump to the next slide and display the first item?

What I'd like to accomplish is for the first tab item to be the content slide (and follow the sequence set by tab order for content), the second tab item be the prev button, the third tab item to be the next slide button, and the rest of the on screen items to be tabbed to after the next button.


Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Bruce, 

I learn something new every day - it stays on that slide, and just returns the user to the first object on that slide (or in your tab order). So it's only skipping over the player elements and bringing the user back to the slide items. 

As far as the tab order of the additional elements, there isn't a way to change the tab order of those items. The order of tabbing will be as follows: items on the slide in the order defined in the custom tab order, the prev/next buttons, then it'll cycle through the other player elements you've included (menu, resources, etc.). 

Terry Springer

The best way to handle this tabbing issue is to add your own custom navigation buttons and disable (remove) the player's navigation. That way they can jump to the next slide before they get to the player navigation.

If storyline would place the navigation on the player first in the order (to the left side before the volume control) we wouldn't have to work around this all the time. It seems that would be a pretty easy change to make.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Terry,

After you've tabbed through the items on the slide, you should then go to the next/prev buttons - and then through the rest of the player elements such as volume, so you should be able to navigate to the next slide prior to seeing the volume button. As I mentioned, I don't use a screen reader often (or ever really!) but that's how it was explained to me that it should work. If you're seeing something different it'll likely be something we want to take a look at in the form of a case with a video of the behavior. You can reach out to our support engineers here. 

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