Storyline for the Blind

I have an interesting issue to overcome.  I am working on a module that needs to be reworked for blind users.  This would involve creating a module and an assessment to go with it.  So far I am just working on ideas.  I have a few but I would love to hear from the community.  Has anyone dealt with this issue before?  Does anyone have any ideas or examples for this type of situation?  I look forward to hearing some ideas from the community as well as posting my own when I get a little further.

Thanks for the help!

5 Replies
Daniel Brigham

Hi, Nathan: This could be a very satisfying challenge. A few thoughts:

1. Contact an Agency, Center, or School that specializes in Blind population--e.g., my wife served Anchor Center for Blind Children (Denver, CO) and I'd head over there and talk to staff about learners ability to use keyboard. Perhaps you have already done this in your area. btw, most people with vision impairments aren't 100% blind, so you MAY be able to somethings with limited visuals--e.g., light gradations, color.

2. This is an awesome change to focus on the nuances of audio. Scenarios that explore a person's tone and the meaning of sounds.

3. I can see keys on the keyboard playing an important role. Of course, question types in Storyline allow certain keyboard keys to be a correct answer choice. 


Nathan Ford

Great ideas! I figured the modules would have to focus on audio and keyboard but adding different tones is something I never thought about.

I'll also look in to some agencies around here for the blind.  Seeing what are some norms used in training already would help provide a scene of comfort in the module.

Thanks again!

Steve Flowers

Loving Daniel's suggestions. Talking to your audience is a great way to develop any product. When designing for a population with a disability it seems especially important. One of the things I've noticed about sophisticated blind users is that they have super human abilities. They understand audio at extremely high play speeds. Honestly, I don't know any sighted users that can absorb and understand information as fast as a blind user that knows their tools and has tuned their available senses. 1000 words per minute fast. It's really amazing. A slower speed for long bits of content could really frustrate users used to being able to glean meaning at this speed. 

This is something to keep in mind with self-voicing content. It's great to add a personal / conversational touch. But if you're passing information, some users might prefer to have control over the speed of the presentation. It's something that would come out in your user interviews.  

Tonya Weathers

I'm curious about the outcome of your development. I recently developed a course for the visually impaired and learned several aspects that I never imaged. Steve is correct. They definitely have super human abilities. It's amazing to watch. 

Here are some things I learned:

1. Understand what assistive software they are using. My learners were using JAWS and MAGic. These are popular for VIPs (visually-impaired persons).

- JAWS will read what's on the screen at the learners preferred speed. However, depending on what it's reading (standard HTML, Word document, PDF document, stand-alone software, Storyline, etc.) will determine how well it works. It may read a sentence in one format, but not for the other - requires a lot of testing. 

- MAGic allows the learner to magnify the screens, invert colors, quickly pan to different areas of the screen, etc. However, depending on what they are viewing, i.e. Storyline file, will determine how well it works - also requires a lot of testing. 

2. Embed ALT text, tool tips and other descriptive text in graphic images in such a way as to alert the screen reading software. I actually recommend not using images at all. It just makes things easier. 

3. For MAGic users, use black and white colors only. Since most MAGic users have their own color preferences due to their individual visual needs, make it easy for them and use basic colors. You may want to use a pretty blue for text, but depending on their color changes it may change the blue to white and now they can't see it at all. For tables/charts/diagrams: Use a black background with white text or a white background with black text. 

4. For MAGic users, use 22 size font or larger. 

5. For JAWS users, avoid tables. Use a list instead. For example: 

Heading 1

Sentence. Sentence. Sentence. 

Heading 2

Sentence. Sentence. Sentence.