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
karen forkish

Hi Crystal,

Thanks for keeping us updated. I was so happy to see the email that just arrived announcing a new version of Rise, because I always hope that accessibility will be a part of the next update. In watching the new features video, I didn't see anything about accessibility. Are there new improvements that I missed? This is a requirement for us, we can't use Rise without it.

Sorry to keep asking for more, I know you'll update this thread as soon as you can, but it's hard to see shiny new features announced when basic accessibility still lags. 

As an aside, and maybe this would be better as a new thread, but part of my struggle is that even though there is some keyboard navigation available in Rise, I find it very confusing. This may be because I am not an expert screen reader user, but I don't know when to use Tab, when to use the arrow keys, what the hierarchy is, how to get from the menu on the left to the content and back, the best way to navigate the course, how to scan the headers, and even where the focus is. Shift Tab doesn't always go back to the previously selected item, which is confusing. It doesn't seem like it should be so difficult to understand and use. And yes, I have read your guide called: Rise: Keyboard-Accessible Navigation. I don't know how our users will be able to navigate. Especially if they can't see.

A webinar on all the accessibility features that are available now, and how to enhance their effectiveness would be helpful. Creative ways to work with Rise, as is, to make it as accessible as possible in its current state would be very welcome. A tutorial on how to best use your keyboard navigation would be awesome.

An honest assessment of the work that still needs to be done, the specifics that keep this tool from meeting WCAG 2.0 requirements, and a timeline for when it will be fully compliant, would build good faith, and help us plan.

Our JAWS users navigate via the arrow keys, but is seems like that is not the overriding navigation used by Articulate. It's hard to explain to someone  who has a great tool that they use successfully in the same way with many applications, that the Articulate created courses need a different approach. We want to be sure that these users know their voice is being heard. 

Thanks for letting me share my viewpoint. In the meantime, I am still hoping for good news!


Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Karen,

I'm sorry we got your hopes up and then dashed them just as quickly! 😕 That was certainly not our intent. The team has had the blocks shortcut bar on the list for some time, and once we finished up the switch to have all pre-built lessons as blocks it was time to release it. Knowing that it would be a big shift for a lot of course authors,  we wanted to alert everyone with an email and give you ample time to prepare.

I know seeing the shiny new things can be difficult when you're hoping for the things you truly need, but making the shift was something that will allow our team to continue to build out the other aspects needed to build amazing e-learning.

Accessibility is still a priority for our team and we're continuing to work on those updates as well. I'm like you and not an expert screen reader user, but if we can help with testing your course using keyboard navigation we're happy too. If you'd like to share privately our Support Team is always ready and you can include a link to this discussion. 

I know our Articulate Live team is always looking for ideas and areas authors need more support, so I'll share with them the webinar idea. I also passed all your comments to the rest of my team as I appreciate the time you took to share an honest take on your experience. That definitely doesn't go unnoticed by any of us here in ELH and the folks who are designing Rise.   

If you have anything else to share, don't hesitate. We're here, and we're always listening so that we can build a product you love using. 💚

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Shirin,

It looks like your email signature came through when you replied via email. You can remove that if needed by clicking ‘Edit’ beneath your response. Here’s a quick Peek video if you need help.

As for the issue you're running into, as I mentioned to Karen we're still working on some accessibility features for Rise. If there is a particular piece you're struggling with, let us know! 

Rich Chapman

Hi there - HUGE fan of Rise, but like others here, I'm biting my fingernails anxiously awaiting  an accessibility upgrade for the platform since we'd like to begin a new project in Rise ASAP.  Specifically, could someone give a projection for completion of full screen reader support?  End of this year, Q1 2019?  Barring that (and because I'm not a compliance expert yet) are there any screen readers that currently work with Rise as we await full compliance?  Any details your team could provide would go along way to reassuring us.

Clearly a rookie question this next one, but if we need to resort to Storyline 360 for its accessibility features is there any meaningful way to export content out of Rise into 360 in order to save rework time - or from scratch it has to be?

Thanks so much for taking the issue of accessibility seriously and for your team's work to make it happen!

Appreciate your response - Ashley Green (by way of RC our IT support)

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Ashley (Rich)! 

I'm also not a compliance expert, but I suspect there are a few folks in the E-Learning Heroes community who are. Does anyone have experience testing various screen readers, and results to share on how those worked with Rise?

I'd look at rebuilding in Storyline, as the Rise courses can't be exported to edit in Storyline. We have a lot of helpful resources on building accessible courses in Storyline, and I'd start with the links here. 

Once we have more details about what our accessibility timeline will be, and what will be supported, I promise we'll share here! I did send your comments and specific questions to my team - so please know it's in the right hands and everyone is aware of the importance of creating accessible content for your learners. 

Mary Montgomery

Our team has had experience with JAWs, NVDA and Mac Voiceover. Voiceover and NVVDA work well but the problem is that most people (like 90%) use JAWs as their screen reader. In using JAWs to test Rise files we have determined that it works better in some browsers than in others. For instance, Edge and Chrome seem to work great as long as you use the guidance from the Rise Keyboard Accessible Navigation page. Firefox didn't seem to work at all. Has anyone else had similar results?

That said, the Rise Keyboard Accessible Navigation has a lot of arrow navigation and that may not intuitive for JAWs users.

We have now run into a problem with embedded SL files. It seems to be a keyboard trap. We used the recommendations from the Rise Keyboard Accessible Navigation guidance. We can get into it and back to the prior information but cannot get past it. Our only solution at this point is to make the SL file the last item in the Rise course which only works if you only have one page and it makes sense for your ID.

Has anyone had this same issue with an embedded SL file in Rise?  Does anyone have any keyboard tricks or other helpful hints?

HPL Training
Ashley Terwilliger

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.

Hi Ashley,

I was also shocked to learn that Rise does not support full accessibility and does not meet WCAG.

Any update on the progress of becoming WCAG-compliant? Is a compliance document available that I could refer to for what's missing? Any idea when the audit will be complete?

Sarah Bezanson

Agree with the comments that it is disappointing Articulate isn't further ahead on this. We have the 360 suite and I was asked to migrate a lot of content into Rise and to build accessibly. Not possible with this tool. the organization is now asking me to look to alternate software packages. 

Ashley Bricker

Any of us who know accessibility, know code, ARIA, etc, know that building accessibility in AFTER the fact takes a lot LONGER than when it's initially implemented from the creation of a new tool. While it's upsetting that access was not fully built into Rise from the beginning, I think Articulate is doing a really nice job hearing what we all have recommended and asked for and implementing those changes. I also appreciate that they have hired an outside company who are experts in this field to assist them with this.  

My organization utilizes Storyline 360 for most of the work we do but we are also using Rise more and more.  We have created guidance on what is fully accessible in Rise and what is not so we know what features to use and what not to. This is something others can also think of when they are designing in Rise. I know it's not ideal, but it is a workaround if Rise is what you want to use. Otherwise, use 360. 

Ashley Bricker

Hey Melissa,

We are still developing new guidance as I "play around" in Rise and receive files from designers. Here are a few items we have:

Some of the things we have on the Do Not Use list are: do not use drag and drops, do not embed videos or any interactive content(this includes Storyline files) as this becomes a keyboard trap for screenreader users- instead, link out to them with a detailed link (do not use "click here") or put this as the absolute last thing on the page (best practice would be avoiding all together)

Be cautious using images as links. Make sure you can alt text the image so users know where they are going and test to make sure what is being read by a screen reader (this can be fickle at times). 

On our You Can Use list: you can embed PDF's but make sure those PDF's are already accessible, you can link out to interactive content and videos

And, lastly, TEST. Test test test with any screenreader you have access to as well as browsers. We seem to have the best results using JAWS with Chrome and Edge. Firefox, Rise and JAWS do not play well together. 


Molly Bruzewski

Hello. As this thread was last updated over 1 year ago, I am hopeful there have been updates to this conversation about Accessibility and Rise.

Does RISE meet WCAG 2.0 and 508 Accessibility requirements? 

Recently been developing and the inclusion of Alt Text for images/graphs are there; including video that is closed-captioned from YouTube easy to do.

Is there a link to documentation about accessibility and Rise?  

Thank you!