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

Nov 05, 2016

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!  

83 Replies
Katie Riggio

Greetings, Mark!

I hear your frustration, and I'm very sorry for the trouble. This discussion is a bit older and covers different bugs, so I want to make sure you get the most up-to-date guidance.

I'm going to connect you with our senior support engineers to carefully troubleshoot further. They may ask for a sample file for testing; please use this unique upload link to share it with them privately.

I'll also follow the case to help advocate where needed!

Leslie McKerchie

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 job 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 see 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 the 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.

Kim Castro

Hi! I Just bought Articulate 360, my Storyline is updated and I'm having this same problem, when I preview the project it just recognize the navigation but not the Alt-text that I just made, I use tab order but it doesn't show in the preview I even publish my unfinished project to check but It has the same problem, I install Jaws and doesn't read it. How can I solve this issue? I need accessibility in this work project ASAP. 

Noel Sapp

Can you give more specifics?

  1. When you say it recognizes the navigation but not the Alt text, do you mean Alt text that you applied to custom navigation buttons? Or do you mean that your screen reader reads only the default PREV/NEXT buttons that Storyline creates on build, but does NOT read buttons or other elements you have created and placed on your slide?
  2. Near the end you say "I install Jaws and doesn't read it." What, specifically, is JAWS not reading? Slide title? Body text? Custom buttons or interactions? Default Storyline 360 navigation buttons? Everything or just parts?

As I understand it (I could be wrong) but the recent update made it so that screen readers automatically read page content without the tab button. It just reads it. You then can tab through just default SL360 navigation buttons. If you goto the first page of the articulate forums here, there is a pinned thread at the top of the first page. I believe it is the second thread in the list with a title something to do with "New in Storyline: Accessible Player." In that thread are notes on the changes. See if that reflects your experience.

I've actually rolled back to a previous version to maintain the current tab navigation that our courses have been designed for. A few other users dealing with accessibility have too for similar reasons and other issues with the update. Be sure to read not just the articulate staff post explaining things, but also user posts. That might offer some perspective.

Kim Castro

Hi Noel, thanks.

1.The tab option and the screen reader reads only the default PREV/NEXT buttons that Storyline creates on build, but does NOT read buttons or other elements I have created.

2. JAWS is not reading the custom buttons or interactions, it only reads default Storyline 360 navigation buttons. 

I have been reading almost all the threads I have encounter with this issue, but haven't find the answer to my problem.

I'll send an example (this is not the project I'm working on, but it presents the same issue).

Thanks for your time. 

Noel Sapp


Sorry, I didn't see a notification for your reply. I'm not saying that you should do this, but I have and if you're following other 508 compliance threads you've probably noticed at least a few users have rolled back too.

If you have Articulate 360, you can launch that app from your computer. It's the free-floating small window that lists all the related Articulate tools such as Storyline 360, Studio 360, Reply 360, etc. The list should show the Storyline 360 icon on the left, and on the right is the Open button. Likely if you're already update to date your list will not have the "Updates Available" text that my same image has. You can still move your mouse over that white space to reveal a hidden dropdown icon. Clicking that should reveal a menu similar to the image reference here. Click Other Versions from that list to see previous builds.

I try to test new builds on my laptop before upgrading my office workstation. If it looks like there are more issues affecting a course than the update fixes, I may just linger on what I got till things are sorted. The last thing I want to do is change how my course content functions at the end of a build cycle!!!

Best of luck.

Leslie McKerchie

Hi Mark and Jothan,

We released another update today for Storyline 3 (Build 3.10.22406.0).

We fixed several accessibility issues, including when changing the alt text on an image with states retained the original alt text for JAWS.

You can read all the details in the article below and grab the latest version here.

Storyline 3 Version History

Let us know if you have any additional questions or you are welcome to work directly with our support engineers here if needed.

This discussion is closed. You can start a new discussion or contact Articulate Support.