Use Up/Down arrows instead of Tab key for navigating content within slide

Jun 13, 2017

I'm building a course in Articulate Storyline 360 and publishing that in HTML5 only output. But while testing it with JAWS reader v18, the up/down arrow keys are not working to focus the content within slide. I'm aware that Tab key is used to focus content or UI element but I still want Up/Down arrow keys to navigate content.

Can it be possible to make this work in Storyline 360 + JAWS reader?

I'm actually working towards A and AA level of accessible course.

15 Replies
Kara Campbell

Hi Alyssa,

I came across this post because we have encountered the same problem. Just wanted to confirm that using the tab key is still the only form of navigation in Storyline 360 courses. We are having our courses evaluated for accessibility with screen readers and this is a major issue. 



joyce noval


Is there any update on this issue?

I've encountered the same problem. I'm using JAWS 2019 and I know that we use the TAB key to focus selection. BUT the instruction it says when it's reading the Knowledge Check radio buttons is "To change the selection, press UP or DOWN arrow". When I press the buttons, it doesn't do anything.

Thanks in advanced!

John Low

Here is my understanding of the issue. Jaws has two modes, 1) Forms mode; 2) Browse mode. 

Browse mode: user will navigate with arrow keys and has access to Jaws shortcut key combinations, (E.g. selecting Ctrl+Insert+B will bring up a list of available buttons that are on screen and allow the user to navigate and select within that button list, vs. having to tab through all on screen elements until they find the button they are looking for); 

Forms mode: user will navigate with tab key; Latest version of Jaws automatically changes to this mode when it recognizes that there are on-screen controls (Buttons, etc.); Jaws will almost always default to this In the case of Articulate Storyline given that there are usually navigation buttons, (Next, Prev, etc.); Jaws will play a sound effect when it switches to this mode, thus alerting the user that arrow keys and Jaws shortcut keys are no longer available and user should rely on the tab key; Jaws users can manually switch back to browse mode by selecting ++ on the numpad. 

Based on our research and troubleshooting, Articulate Storyline only works consistently in Forms mode, that is using tab keys for navigation and enter or space for selection. When Jaws users switch between modes Browse mode a number of issues can arise, including on-screen visual focus not aligning with keyboard focus, and tab order can be effected. 

It would be great to hear if and how Articulate is planning to address this, since non-sighted users rely on both Jaws modes to navigate more efficiently. 

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.

David Crocker

While we are talking enhancements, it would be great if the "Object is visible to accessibility tools" was opt in instead of opt out. It is most often that only a few objects need to be visible to accessibility tools. I work for a disability services organisation and it would save me lots of time if it was opt in only. Perhaps even the ability to change the default behaviour.

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