Top 5 things to make a course more accessible

Jan 28, 2013

I admit it, I'm ignorant on this subject. For years now, I've been happily creating engaging interactions with little thought to the hearing or vision impaired.  Without getting too deep into the weeds can you please help me start a list of the BIG things I need to start doing in ARTICULATE STORYLINE to make my course more accessible?

I've started it. Please correct it. Or add to it.

1. Start adding alt-text to all images.

Use descriptive alt-text with images, especially those images which prompt a user to "click here'. So instead of an image link with the alt -text "banana", use the alt -text "click here to view the banana". I can add alt-text by right clicking on the image and selecting "position".

2. Don't include important information in animations (or provide alternative)

I'm assuming demonstrations or descriptions using animations don't translate well or at all with assistive technology.

3. Don't include drag n drop or hot spot interactions in Storyline (or provide alternative)

I'm assuming these also don't translate well or at all with assistive technology.

4. Provide transcript and/or closed captioning with audio/video elements.

Obviously for the hearing impaired, audio and narration without text alternative is challenging.

5. What's yours?

**Also, any tips on a way that I can test my articulate build course for 508 compliance?



5 Replies
Brenda Heilman

Here's another tip---uncheck the 'alt text' box for all visual-only items--any item that adds to the slide's visual design, but isn't necessary for the 'text' version, including items on your slide & feedback masters.  This makes the object 'invisible' to screen readers, reducing the number of tabs it takes to get through the slide.  If there's alt text on a visual only item that needs to be included, you can add that alt text to one of the other items.

You can 'kind of' check your 508 compliance by previewing the course and using your keyboard keys to navigate the course.  That will give you a decent idea of how the screen reader will 'see' the objects.  A yellow highlighted box will appear around the 'active' item as you tab around.

Steven Heindl

Thanks for the tip Brenda. I think I see what you are saying. So a blue banner across the top of the page, may not need a alt-text- in that it doesn't  relay any information. It's there only for style.

Whereas an image of apple tree, while describing how to plant an orchard might be informative and warrant an alt-text description. The same would obviously also be true for images such as buttons or other interactions.

Richard Gardner

In my forth decade as a professional trainer - consultant, one thing I have learned is that "fits all" solutions tend to be complex, busy and often result in compromises which, in turn, often result in no-one being served properly.

Being in Vocational Rehabilitation, this issue of e-learning and sensory impairments (irrespective of "compliance" issues) weighs heavily. 

Do I design an e-course that is graphically sparse and absent visual animations and effects to accommodate screen readers, and cluttered with captioning  for HOH and Deaf consumers, (which for some reason, Articulate has chosen to make difficult in Storyline) ... or do I follow my intuition that virtually the same content can, and often is, historically delivered in various ways? In this specific case, including customized iterations of e-courses?

Assuming the same content, one wonders how an iteration of that content, designed specifically for sight impaired consumers (with no nod to others) would function ... obviously more difficult than re-tooling for HOH and Deaf ... but it is the point that interests me; one size fits all, or customized iterations that are optimized for the intended consumer?

Hanna Golota

Hello Steve, 

I am in the same situation like you were a year ago. I have two quizzes that I need to develop with ADA compatibility in Storyline. Would you share any extra trips with me on the top of what you have mentioned above?  Did you buy special software to make sure your training is compatible? 

Thanks in advance for your help. 


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