Accessibility in Rise

Dec 01, 2016


As mentioned on the website under FAQ for Rise "Are Rise courses compliant with accessibility guidelines?
Rise employs many modern web standards for accessibility, and additional accessibility improvements are in development."

Could you please specify in detail which of these are supported in current version:
WCAG AA, WAI-ARIA Labels, Section 508, DDA, Equality Act and Screen Reader Supports.


342 Replies
Ruth Canton

I created a Storyline course and checked it with the JAWS screen reader myself rather than a visually impaired user. It seemed to work fine for me but I could have missed something.

I did spend much time using the Accessibility editors (sorry I forget the precise name Articulate use for these editors)
A) ordering my slide content so it could be tabbed through in a coherent order 
B) ensuring all images are labelled in the correct way
C) adding captions to the narration that can be turned on or off. 

Both editors are easy to use but it still takes a little time to add accessibility. A drag and drop facility to order slide element would make things a bit quicker.

Matt Saavedra

Unfortunately Articulate has been very slow to respond to accessibility concerns in Rise. Storyline 360 does have accessibility support, but this requires effort on the part of the course developer. It is up to you as the developer to know how to apply various settings in Storyline to meet 508 compliance, WCAG 2.0, etc. Storyline also does not support arrow key navigation used by JAWS, it does support tabbed navigation. For whatever reason they haven't included arrow key support. They really need to get an accessibility specialist on staff and run their entire suite through better testing.

Kyle Mackie

Agreed. Totally unimpressed in how you address the needs of your users. I'm happy to be transitioning away from the tool. Here's where I'm heading, if anyone's interested: Open source. Easily shareable. Built with accessibility in mind.

Oh, and free to use.

IT Econometrica

I think they've been slower than we'd all like (for Rise in particular), but I do get the impression that Articulate has been making accessibility a top priority these past six months or so. I think it actually takes time to get these features right, and so I'm optimistic that they're just still working hard on all of this and it's not quite ready for showtime. Rise is so close to being a game-changer in online training. So, so close. We just need to nail it with the accessibility and compliance pieces.

Matt Saavedra

I agree with Kyle. You don't release a tool that you know only works for some end-users and that doesn't meet WCAG 2.0 standards and government accessibility requirements. These are aren't nice-to-have features, these are requirements for anyone that works in government or education. No application can be a game-changer if that application is approaching accessibility as an afterthought. 

Gemma Cynric-Veldey

I agree that they shouldn't have released an e-learning tool that wasn't accessible, but if we as customers continue to advocate and push for full accessibility, hopefully the developers will learn from past mistakes, listen and respond to our feedback, and next time they release a new tool, they will make sure that it's accessible right from the start.

Matt Saavedra

It's not as if this is Articulate's first time hearing this sort of feedback and pursuing this after-thought strategy. It happened with Storyline 1, Storyline 2, etc. This is how they operate. They push a product for corporate customers out  and then defer needs for education and government customers. Kicking the can is kicking the can. 

Kyle Mackie

It's not just about it being the right thing to do for users. Releasing a product that is not accessible is a serious mis-step from a business point-of-view and reflects poorly on the company overall.

"There were nearly 40 million Americans with a disability in 2015, representing 12.6% of the civilian non-institutionalized population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau." ( Numbers are similar up here in Canada.

Directly and indirectly, Articulate is shutting the door on a significant portion of their market.

Andrew Ratner

So, it looks like this is still very much an issue, but I wanted to try it anyway. I have embedded a Storyline block into Rise and it seems that the keyboard navigation gets stuck there -- as in, it can tab into the block itself, but not into the rest of the content (it's really a series of hotspots with read-able content). Does this mean that a screen-reader will also not be able to read through that content? How can both of these issues be mitigated? Thanks!

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi all,

We’ve been working hard on the accessibility features in Rise. And our ultimate goal is to be Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) compliant.

We’ve built Rise to follow Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) standards for common navigation features, such as buttons, links, and forms. For custom features that aren’t covered by ARIA, such as interactive markers and sorting activities, we’ve focused on making the custom keyboard navigation feel natural and intuitive.

We do not yet provide full keyboard navigation support for learners who require a screen reader, but we are actively working on this.

As part of our plan to get to be WCAG compliant, we’re also hiring a 3rd party consultant to do a full audit. We’ll then produce a WCAG compliance document.

We appreciate your patience as we continue to work to meet the needs of all your learners and will continue to update you as we make progress in this area.

karen forkish

Hi Andrew, 

I wonder if this tested well for you in Storyline, before the block was inserted in Rise? I think the problem might be that hotspots are not accessible.

After reading the thread at the above link, I used transparent shapes instead of hotspots in Storyline, and the Storyline block worked well in Rise via tabbing, and with the NVDA screen reader.

Hope this helps.

karen forkish

Hi Ashley,

This is such good news, thanks for the update! So glad to hear that you are bringing in a consultant with expertise in accessibility to advise you on changes that are needed to be WCAG compliant.

In the meantime, I am testing keyboard navigation functionality in Rise with the NVDA screen reader, and using Chrome and IE. I notice that when tabbing through the beginning of a course, it skips over the course description, jumping straight from the Details button to the first topic. I've tested several different Rise courses and see that same behavior. 

Is there another way to visit the course description via keyboard navigation? (I also tried the arrow keys, just in case). Is this something your development team is aware of?

Thanks for your help.

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Karen, 

I haven't tested out the NVDA screen reader, but I tested the basic Tab option through a Rise course, and when I got to the drop down carrot shown below, I was able to press the Enter key to show the course description. Is that what you're looking for with the "Details"? 

From there I could continue to tab to go to the first lesson, and again Enter is what opened the lesson. 

Let me know if you're seeing something different, and we can take a look!  

karen forkish

Hi Ashley,

Thanks for your message! Even without using a screen reader, your feedback will help me to understand what the tabbing sequence is, and from that, to know what a blind person will have access to in the content.

I see that when you press Enter from the drop down carrot, that the course description is shown. I see the same thing. What I don't see is a focus rectangle around the description.

If the text is not part of the tab order, then the screen reader won't know it's there, and if someone can't see the screen, they will not get this information. The screen reader (or, any other assistive technology) will only read what you can tab to, what becomes the area of focus from tab navigation.

Does that help? I feel like I'm missing something.

Thank you for helping me to understand what to expect from Rise keyboard navigation.