HTML5 & Accessibility

Oct 10, 2015

I'm interested in the community's thoughts on the intersection of HTML5-based delivery and the requirement to develop accessibility-compliant courses (508 and/or WCAG). 

  • Fundamentally, when the need arises is it because the course will be consumed on mobile devices via those requiring accessibility OR is the course still consumed via a desktop browser but Flash delivery is no longer acceptable (or allowed)?
  • In either case, how frequently does this need arise? 
  • For truly mobile delivery, are the capabilities of the device or operating system utilized? For example, the built-in text to speech capabilities of some mobile operating systems.
  • Has the role of screen readers evolved alongside the growth of HTML5 usage?

Thanks in advance!

12 Replies
Ryan DeWitt

Brian-I just finished a SL project that had no extra screen real estate for graphic add on closed captions. CC turned out to be the number one criteria for our client's accessibility rules. This week I'm using YouTube transcriptons and adding the cleaned up Closed Captions CC (sub ripped text - .srt) back into my video which will be accessed in Storyline. 

If this customer does not have this CC accessibility feature they can not get credit. So now all my courses will have at least CC. 

very relevant and hot topic. Thanks for posting. 

Jo Kaptijn

Hi Brian

I've been looking into this issue in the community recently, as I'm working on a major project where the client confirmed the flash version they have installed, then just before delivery announced that behind their very strict firewall, flash does not operate at all. Luckily the HTML5 version is working well - but I am having sleepless nights now about how to tackle accessibility, since I realised that the screen reader functionality does not work at all with the HTML5 output, so even providing text alternative to some of the interactions would be impossible to navigate to ...

Are their any plans to change this / workarounds? I know a lot of other members of the community have asked this and constantly get signposted to the accessibility features regarding non-support for HTML5 ... but thought worth posing the question !


Steve Flowers

Another vote for portable standard captions and full HTML5 accessibility support. Captioning creates a problem that we've been working around but every workaround causes another issue. Lack of portability locks us into using something *just* within SL or duplicating work. If we can get standard captions in, there's an opportunity to introduce interactive transcripts to the player. Even as person without a disability, I use interactive transcripts whenever they're available.

There is quite a bit of sentiment in the content QA / development field from folks that believe that Flash cannot be made accessible. Right or wrong, this is out there. And it's a showstopper for getting Storyline content deployed in these organizations as these folks view SL as not ADA compliant.

iOS devices offer fantastic support for disabled users. None of these features are usable in the current iteration of output.

William Heinrich

I can't wait for Flash to be killed off. It's served its purpose. HTML5 might still be a little buggy and quirky sometimes--especially on Storyline projects with a lot of animations, but it's a huge improvement for accessibility. 

To handle whether or not CC is included, what I've done is just add a button that turns on/off a layer that has multiple text boxes synced with the timeline. It's time consuming, but worth it. 

Joseph Dowdy

I have been clamoring for a way to eliminate Flash from the production process and only go with HTML5. I wish there was an option to publish only in HTML5 as this would really ramp up the inevitable end to Flash. As many know, Flash had another major vulnerability setback days ago and I am uncomfortable putting my future into a dying technology.

Jo Kaptijn

Hi William,

I wonder if you could give a couple of tips (I've not done a lot with HTML5 output before) - If I try and use std web based screen readers and tab etc, I can see how this works in flash, but with HTML5 web output, it doesn't do anything - Am I missing something really basic? From your post it sounds like it does work OK'ish ... would you be able to share tips on progs etc to get me started?

Many thanks in advance!


Tamara Evans Braun

I know this thread is a bit old but just wanted to add my support. All our clients now expect html-5 output as standard rather than flash, both for mobile compatibility and flash instability reasons. Firefox entirely blocked flash a few months ago, only for a short time but it really highlights the fact that it is basically dead.  Recently I was asked why we even bothered to provided flash versions of storyline resources and we have been enaged on quiet a few projects that involve conversion of old flash reosurces to html5.  We are also finding that more and more people require accessible resources so for us html-5 output with full accessibility is basically essential all the time. 

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