What You Need to Know About Designing Accessible E-Learning with Storyline 360

For many organizations, creating accessible e-learning is both a mission-critical business goal and a legal requirement. The good news is that Storyline 360 has the features you need to create e-learning that meets Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the key Storyline 360 features that’ll help you create accessible courses.

1. Accessible Player

The Storyline 360 modern player has built-in accessibility features that make it possible for learners with a variety of screen readers to interact with the course controls without any manual tweaking on your part. It also meets and exceeds WCAG Level AA guidelines for visual contrast and color.

Interested in learning more about the built-in accessibility features in the Storyline 360 player? Check out these articles: 

2. Accessible Text

This powerful feature allows learners to adjust the size and style of course text—using custom stylesheets or browser extensions—making it more readable and accessible than ever. Learn more about how that works in these helpful resources: 

3. Accessible Text Styles

Accessible text styles not only create more design consistency, but they also help screen readers. That’s because this feature shares the hierarchy of information with screen readers so they can identify and announce headings, hyperlinks, quotes, and other custom text. For more information, head over here: 

4. Text Autofit

When it comes to making sure all your learners can access your content, another important thing to consider is text size. After all, if your copy is too small, learners might have trouble reading it. With the text autofit feature, you can set textboxes to a fixed size without shrinking the text if it overflows—so you know your learners will be able to read it easily. Learn more about this feature here: Text Autofit Improvements.

5. Accessibility Controls

Empower learners to personalize their experience by turning on the accessible controls in the course player. These controls allow learners to change the zoom mode*, turn accessible text on or off, and toggle keyboard shortcuts. Learn more in this article: Adjustable Accessibility Settings.

6. Two-Color Focus Indicator

When learners navigate using a keyboard, there’s an outline—called a focus indicator—that highlights the object they’re currently selecting. Without focus indicators, these learners won’t know where they are on the page—so it’s pretty important. 

In Storyline 360, you can now choose not just one focus color, but two! This helps learners clearly see the focus indicators on both dark and light backgrounds. To learn more about this superhelpful feature, head over to this article: Two-Color Focus Indicator.

7. Closed Captions

Closed captions aren’t just for learners with hearing impairments. They’re also great for people who are taking your course in a language they’re still learning, are in a noisy environment, or have cognitive disabilities, for example. That’s why it’s so important to include closed captions for any audio or video content you choose to include in your course. Learn how to do that in these helpful resources:

8. Course Player & Closed Captions Font Size

Because using different fonts impacts the perceived size of text, Storyline 360 allows you to customize the size of your course player labels and closed captions. Learn how to do that here:

9. Alternative (Alt) Text

Alt text is important for learners who can’t see the images, graphics, or videos on the screen. It provides a description of the multimedia objects for screen readers to read aloud. 

You should add alt text to all slide objects that convey meaning or context to the learner. Thankfully, adding alt text is supereasy in Storyline 360. Here’s an article that’ll walk you through the steps for images within your course: Storyline 360: Adding Alternative Text for Screen Readers. And here’s another one for adding alt text to a logo that’s embedded in the course player: Adding Alt Text to Your Logo.

10. Custom Focus Order

Focus order is the order in which screen readers announce on-screen objects. It’s superimportant that the focus order be logical, or it’ll make for a confusing experience for your screen reader users. (Head over here for a more detailed explanation about why focus order matters: 4 Things to Know About Storyline 360 Courses and Screen Readers.) Luckily, that’s something you can easily customize as the course author. Here’s a tutorial that walks you through how to use this feature, step by step: Customizing the Focus Order of Slide Objects.

Wrap-Up

As you can see, Storyline 360 has a ton of accessibility features to help you create courses that work for all your learners. But we’re always hard at work to bring you even more! Stay tuned to our feature road map to see what’s on the horizon.

And if you’re looking for more accessibility-related resources, check out the links below:

Want to try using these features to create an accessible course, 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.

 

* The accessibility settings work in both the modern player and classic player, the zoom-to-fit control, however, only appears in the modern player.

7 Comments
Matthew Bibby

Technically, Articulate 360 only works with JAWS 16 in one of the supported browsers: https://articulate.com/support/article/Articulate-Storyline-360-Is-Compliant-with-Section-508-Accessibility-Guidelines#screen-reader. You can get a trial version of JAWS to do initial tests. However, some have found that NVDA (which is free) works okay with Storyline. There are some cases where it can be buggy, search the forums for discussions containing NVDA (e.g., here is one post: https://community.articulate.com/discussions/building-better-courses/nvda-screen-reader). That being said, if NVDA doesn't work as expected, that's not something that Articulate can help you with as they make no claims of it working with their products. I'd love to see Articulate do better in this area. Of part... Expand