Accessibility and Marker Animations

Sep 05, 2018

Does anyone know whether either the marker pulse or marker swirl would be considered a risk for individuals with seizure disorders? If so, has anyone figured out a different way to draw attention to the markers? I am primarily using them to close layers and just want to be sure that people see them in the first few slides where they occur. 



14 Replies
Crystal Horn

Hi there, folks! The WCAG guidelines require:

Web pages do not contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period, or the flash is below the general flash and red flash thresholds.

Labeled graphic blocks in Rise 360 satisfy this criteria for accessibility. I also found these additional recommendations: 

I hope that helps! 

Jeff Momsen

Hi all, 

We are retrofitting a number of Storyline courses, and this is one of the areas we had flagged by an auditor. (the Marker swirling/pulsing)

The auditors' flag had to do with the swirling/pulsing's duration rather than the flash rate.

Even animations that adhere to the less than 3 flashes per second rule, are still a problem under the 5 second duration rule.

From the WCAG guidelines: (bold text mine)

Success Criterion 2.2.2 Pause, Stop, Hide§

(Level A)

For moving, blinking, scrolling, or auto-updating information, all of the following are true:

Moving, blinking, scrolling

For any moving, blinking or scrolling information that (1) starts automatically, (2) lasts more than five seconds, and (3) is presented in parallel with other content, there is a mechanism for the user to pause, stop, or hide it unless the movement, blinking, or scrolling is part of an activity where it is essential; and

Jeff Momsen

Thanks Alyssa. 

That was our course of action, yes. To turn off the swirl/pulse completely.

The intent of my post with the Success Criterion 2.2.2 Pause, Stop, Hide information from WCAG was to make sure that all our fellow Storyline authors knew that even though the swirl and pulse satisfy the WCAG criteria that Crystal mentioned:

"Web pages do not contain anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period, or the flash is below the general flash and red flash thresholds."

Unfortunately, the same swirl and pulse animation for the markers fails to satisfy the WCAG criteria:

"...there is a mechanism for the user to pause, stop, or hide it."


Jeff Momsen

Hi Lisa,

You are not wrong. As with most things, there are many facets going on at once. The fix was not my main point. but yes, having a fix to allow the animation to turn off at 5 seconds would he nice. Not a game changer, but nice.

As a dyed-in-the-wool educator, my main concern was to provide accurate CURRENT USAGE GUIDANCE.

I was worried that by only bringing up the flash-per-second being ok, that authors would use Marker animations, and then fail an accessibility compliance test because of the 5 second limit.

The entire accessibility topic is important, but also confusing. There is plenty of guidance of what not to do, as well as other lists of how things should function, but nowhere is there a comprehensive collection of how to make that happen.

Oh fun!

Lisa Spirko

Hi Alyssa,

Please check out Jeff's last comment below. Could the VPAT ( be updated to better reflect under what conditions Storyline courses are compliant?

For example, the row for 2.2.2 Pause, Stop, Hide probably should have a remark/explanation that markers are compliant only if the Animate setting is None.

There are a gazillion other little things like this that course authors need to do correctly in order to meet WCAG standards.

Thanks for considering my suggestion.

Alyssa Gomez

Hi Lisa,

You're spot on -- there are many design decisions and things course authors choose to include in their custom projects to make their content accessible. For example, there is the option to set the Animation to None as you've mentioned, which allows you to create a course that conforms to WCAG criteria 2.2.2.

While we don't have plans to include every design possibility in our VPAT, we do offer guidance on how to design an accessible course in Storyline 360

Testing for accessibility involves using assistive technologies, a variety of devices, and accessibility compliance tests. All of this testing works together to ensure that all content is accessible and meaningful, and the final product will come after iterating through all of these methods.

Jodi M. Sansone

Hi All on this thread.  I found it very helpful.  At the end of the month I am doing a demo at DevLearn at the Articulate User Conference.  One of my demos uses markers (I like the pulse) and David Anderson alerted me to expect some questions on accessibility.  I had not considered the issues with the swirl and pulse.  If you have any other considerations I should be ready for, could you share them?  I am not setting myself up as an accessibility expert, but I want to at least be able to address some pros and cons of using this great feature.  Thanks for posting your comments.

Lisa Spirko

Hi Jodi,

I'm not sure if this information will help you or others, but the information in the table below is from our accessibility checklist for Storyline.

Best regards,



Marker icon is simple and intuitive, such as an arrow, “i”, or numbers (for numbered steps only).

Animate is set to None.

The popup box sized to fit all of the text without displaying scroll bars.

Each marker and its popup box are positioned so they do not cover or pop up behind any other markers, on-screen text, or other relevant areas of the screenshot or slide.

Text in the popup is at least 16 pt.

Explanation: WCAG criterion 2.2.2 requires that “any moving, blinking or scrolling information that (1) starts automatically, (2) lasts more than five seconds, and (3) is presented in parallel with other content” include a mechanism for the user to pause, stop, or hide it. Storyline’s pulse and swirl animations on markers do not provide such a mechanism, so we should not use them.

Show All on Hover is NOT selected.

Explanations: JAWS always adds instructive verbiage like “To activate, press Enter or spacebar” to the announcement of the marker button, even when the popup is already expanded. This is potentially confusing if the marker is expanded by default: “Search field button, collapsed. To activate, press Enter. Expanded.” Per our accessibility advisor, having Show All on Hover turned off so that only the “title” pops up on hover or focus and having the user click or press Enter or spacebar to display more should be intuitive for most users.

Alt text is assigned to the marker and includes the marker icon’s text (if meaningful), and the title in the popup (required).


·  Text in the marker icon needs to be included in the alt text only if it is meaningful and uniquely distinguishes the marker from other markers on the slide, such as step numbers or unique letters.

·  The letter “i” for “information” is not meaningful text and should be excluded from alt text.

Audio is absent from the marker.

Explanation: Audio in the marker that reads the text aloud would be useful for users who have vision issues but do not use a screen reader. However, per our accessibility consultant, audio in markers should be kept off by default and activated only with an “audio assistance” checkbox or button on the slide or at the beginning of the course with a variable and trigger. Storyline does not provide this capability yet, but it has been requested.