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 how these key Storyline 360 features help you create accessible courses.

1. Accessible Player

When you think about accessibility, screen reader compatibility is likely one of the first things that comes to mind. Luckily, 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. Accessibility Controls

As a course author, one of the easiest ways to make your courses more accessible is by providing learners with options to customize their learning experience. After all, who better than your learners themselves to know what they need to be successful? That’s why we added accessibility controls to the course player. These controls allow learners to change the zoom mode*, turn accessible text on or off, toggle keyboard shortcuts, and turn background audio on or off. All you have to do is turn these controls on and let your learners choose the options that work best for them. Learn more in this article: Adjustable Accessibility Settings.

3. Full-Screen Toggle

Another way you can give learners more power over the learning experience is by turning on the full-screen toggle option in the course player. Full-screen mode can help learners fully focus on the course by hiding other open tabs or windows. And then, when they want to switch to another task, they can simply toggle it off again. To learn more about this feature, check out this article: Full-Screen Toggle.

4. Course Playback Speed Control

Learners with language barriers or cognitive disabilities sometimes want to slow content down so it’s easier to follow. And learners who want to quickly review content they’ve seen before often want to speed it up to save time. With this awesome feature, you can let learners choose a playback speed that’s comfortable for them—from 0.25x to 2x—for an improved learning experience. Find out more about how it works here: Course Playback Speed Control.

5. Accessible Text

Learners with low vision often use custom style sheets or browser extensions to adjust the size and style of text on websites so it’s easier to read. Thanks to the accessible text feature, they can do that with text in your Storyline 360 courses as well. Learn more about how that works in these helpful resources:

6. Accessible Text Styles

When learners access content using a screen reader, information hierarchy is important because it helps them understand how the content is laid out as well as the relationships between different elements. Accessible text styles allow authors to give screen reader learners this additional context by marking text object headings, hyperlinks, quotes, etc. For more information, head over here:

7. Text Autofit

When it comes to making sure all your learners can access your content, another important consideration 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.

8. Course Player 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 to ensure they’re easy to read. 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: 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. Closed Captions

Closed captions aren’t just for learners with hearing impairments. They’re also great for people taking your course in a language they’re still learning, in a noisy environment, or with cognitive disabilities, for example. That’s why it’s 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:

11. Closed Captions Formatting

Make sure your closed captions are easy to read, and don’t block other content by customizing their look in the course player. In player settings, you can select your font and size, text and background color, and the placement location.

12. Video Transcripts

Adding transcripts to videos is a great way to support learners who rely on screen readers, use braille displays, or prefer to read the audio content at their own pace. And with Storyline 360, it’s supereasy to add transcripts to your videos. Simply add closed captions and turn on the accessible video controls and Storyline will generate them for you automatically. It’s that simple! For more details about this feature, head over here: Video Transcripts.

13. Dialog Layers

Dialog layers—also known as modal dialogs—are pop-up windows that prevent users from clicking anything outside of them. They improve learners’ navigation experience by making it easier to understand how to move forward. Learners who can see will notice that the rest of the course dims when the dialog layer appears, signaling they can no longer access content outside the layer. Learners using a screen reader will understand they can’t select anything else because the keyboard focus will stay on the layer. Learn more about this feature here: Dialog Layers.

And here’s a time-saving tip! Thanks to feedback master defaults, you can set every slide layer in your project to display as a dialog layer by default. Check out this article for more details: Feedback Master Defaults.

14. Accessible Feedback Layers

Quizzes are a fundamental component of most e-learning courses. Providing your learners with feedback that explains what’s right and wrong—and why—is essential. Given their importance, quizzes need to work for all learners. When you use the accessible feedback layers in Storyline 360, you can rest easy knowing that they meet WCAG guidelines for visual contrast, color, and focus—right out of the gate. Head over here to learn more: Accessible Feedback Layers.

15. Accessible Quiz Results

And, of course, no quiz would be complete without a result slide, so those should be accessible as well. That’s why Storyline 360 includes accessible quiz result slide templates. Their sleek designs meet WCAG guidelines for visual color, contrast, and focus—guaranteeing that all your learners can digest the content of your result slides. View this article for details: Accessible Quiz Results.

16. 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.

17. Two-Color Focus Indicator

When learners navigate using a keyboard, an outline—called a focus indicator—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 essential. 

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


As you can see, Storyline 360 has a ton of accessibility features to help you create courses that work for all your learners. And we’re always hard at work to bring you even more! Stay tuned to our feature roadmap 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 and classic player; the zoom-to-fit control, however, only appears in the modern player.