WARNING: Accessibility bug in Storyline (WCAG/508 compliance)

For those of you who think you have created an accessible course in Storyline, I urge you to test your published courses using a screen reader. There are two important bugs you need to be aware of as they may have caused you to breach your contractual obligations in relation to WCAG 2.0/Section 508 compliance (not to mention being extremely frustrating for your learners who rely on screen readers).

Bug #1: If you add Alt text to a button after adding a state, the Alt text doesn't work.

Bug #2: If you update Alt text on a button after adding a state, the Alt text doesn't work.

I've created a video demonstrating these bugs. Click the image below to watch it. 

Articulate Storyline WCAG 508 Accessibility Alt text not working

Articulate are aware of these bugs. While we await a bug fix, the only workaround is to do the following:

  • Ensure you add Alt text before adding states.
  • Do not attempt to duplicate a button and then update the Alt text on the subsequent buttons. Create all buttons from scratch. 
  • If you need to update the Alt text on a button at a later stage, ensure you delete the button and recreate it (and all its states and triggers) again from scratch. 

This workaround is extremely tedious and time-consuming, but at least it's better than finding out that your course is not accessibility compliant!

Please test your published courses using a screen reader (you can download a free one here) and reply to this post if these bugs have impacted on any of your work. Hopefully we can get them bumped up the bug priority list!  

87 Replies
Bob O'Donnell

Crystal, We had a similar situation in 360. I would think this applies to Erin's issue - assuming I'm reading her procedure correctly. We fixed a single "Close" button and then copied and pasted it across every slide where it appeared. Copy and paste worked fine once a single source button was corrected. We did spot check it initially to make sure it worked so we didn't need to physically edit every button. It too had to be done across many slides but it went quickly using that process.

Maria Aceituno

We are still having this issue, we use Storyline 360 and JAWS as a reader. It is reading the image file name instead of the alt tag. The work around that we had to do was to delete the visibility of all the images, the triggers, and set buttons set back to none. Then we followed Jonathan's advice of putting "an invisible rectangle on top of a real button that has the triggers you originally had on the real button underneath it and remove accessibility from the real button and add the ALT text to what is now essentially an invisible button on top of your real button." This is very tedious work and let me tell you that our team is not happy of having to have to redo so much work because this feature is not working correctly and it has been a known issue for over a year. Please get this bug fixed! 

Tamara Tarasova

Thanks to all for the contributions and especially Kuriko for bringing this bug. Update on SL 360 - the bug is still there as of now. Another thing that has not been raised here is the inability to combine several objects under the same state to make them accessible. The reader picks up on each elements despite the  alt text assigned to a state. Maybe they should have been combined as invisible at the beginning but there is no way to redo those combinations. Mark's suggestion to delete the states and recreate them worked for me in some instances. When several objects were combined in 1 state,  I had to unbundle the states into separate elements, then made some elements invisible for the screen reader and set triggers to text on top so buttons underneath change the states when clicking on the text. 

Jackie Waskewicz

bsi el I too am seeing a break with tab order and layers since the 3.17 releases hit. I have an open case and the QA person was able to also see (and record) the issue, but still have no ETA on a fix. We were able to have users with v. 3.16 installed open and publish the file, and get it to work, but we really need a better solution.

Alyssa Gomez

Hey folks, 

Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us. I'm glad to hear that you were able to roll back to Update 16 and continue working while our team irons out this issue. 

If anyone else runs into this problem in the future, please reach out to us here to request a rollback. We certainly don't want this bug keeping you from making your deadlines!

Crystal Horn

Hey everybody - particularly Henri. I'm excited to let you know that we just released update 5 for Storyline 3! It includes new features and fixes - check them all out here.

One of the fixes addresses an issue where disabled custom buttons were still accessible with keyboard navigation.

Here’s where you can download and install the latest version of Storyline 3. Let me know how you make out!

Alyssa Gomez

Great news, folks!  We just released another update for Articulate 360.  It includes new features and fixes listed here!

We were seeing a problem where the yellow focus indicator would jump back to the first object on the slide when a layer was opened. That issue is now fixed!

You can take advantage of this fix by downloading and installing the latest update of Storyline 360. Let me know if you have any questions!

Crystal Horn

Hi Mark - thank you for clarifying.  I believe you're referring to the issue with the alt text of a button not being read properly by JAWS.  We have it documented that the screen reader will actually read the default alt text of the Normal state of buttons.

We still have this issue with our team and are investigating a fix.  I know it's been a few months, and I'm sorry you're being impacted!

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Erin,

The issue with the alt text of a button not being read properly by JAWS when you've entered that text into the Tab Order window or when it's on a button with multiple states is still open with our team for investigation. 

So in short, our team still has our eyes on this issue, but we haven't released a fix for it yet.