At Articulate, our goal is to empower course designers to create courses that deliver a compelling, enjoyable experience to all learners, regardless of their abilities. Over the past year, we’ve been working harder than ever to make that possible. Let’s take a closer look at some of the big accessibility improvements we made in 2020.
1. Expanded Screen Reader Support
One major accessibility enhancement we made to Storyline 360 in 2020 was expanded reader support. Learners could always use JAWS* to view their Storyline 360 courses on desktops, but now they can also use NVDA, VoiceOver, and TalkBack, bringing accessibility support to all devices—including tablets and mobile phones.
2. Improved Screen Reader Experience
In addition to supporting a broader range of screen readers, we’ve improved the screen reader experience. One way we’ve done this is by adding semantic formatting. Now, instead of simply reading only the content, screen readers also tell learners whether something is a paragraph, a link, or an item in a list. Course authors can take this even further and help screen readers identify text as headings by using text styles. This contextual information goes a long way in helping learners understand the course content.
Thanks to semantic formatting learners can also take advantage of the additional default screen reader features. For example, many screen readers use an Elements List to help users easily navigate through different types of content (see screenshot below).
Now, screen reader users can take advantage of these features as they’re navigating through their Storyline 360 courses.
We’ve also improved the screen reader experience for specific interactions like hotspots, drop-down lists, markers, video controls, and the optional launch page.
3. Improved Keyboard Navigation
Another area we focused heavily on in 2020 was improving keyboard navigation. The biggest change you’ll notice is that we rearranged the player controls so they’re more intuitive for keyboard users and similar to popular video-streaming sites. Check out the before and after screenshots below:
We also added keyboard shortcuts to let learners do things like mute and unmute audio, zoom, replay the slide, turn closed captions on/off, and more.
4. Improved Text Readability
When viewing text on a screen, people with low vision, dyslexia, or cognitive disabilities often need to swap out fonts, change the color, enlarge the font size, or increase the line spacing to make it easier to read. Thanks to the accessible text feature, learners can use stylesheets or browser extensions to make these changes to the text in Storyline 360 courses—just like they do on websites. And if text no longer fits within its bounding box when learners reformat it, a scroll bar appears so they can still access all the content.
5. Customizable Accessibility Settings
Learners are not a single, homogenous group—they’re a diverse population with a wide range of needs. To empower learners to personalize their learning experiences according to their needs, we added some new accessible settings to the course player.
These improvements will make exploring e-learning content easier than ever for learners using their keyboard or assistive technologies.
And if you’re looking for tips on making your e-learning content accessible, check out these helpful resources:
Want to try out these Storyline 360 accessibility features, but don’t have Articulate 360? Start a free 30-day trial, and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning. If you have any questions, please share them in the comments.
* Note that JAWS has limited support for Microsoft Edge.
** The accessibility settings work in both the modern player and classic player, the zoom-to-fit control, however, only appears in the modern player.