Accessibility and Adobe Captivate

Accessibility and Adobe Captivate
Accessibility and Adobe Captivate
You can create output that is compliant with Section 508 for users who have visual or hearing impairments,
mobility impairments, or other types of disabilities. You can also take steps at the design level to remove
obstacles for people with disabilities viewing your Adobe Captivate projects.
These solutions support government agencies in meeting their users’ needs through Section 508 compliance,
as well as companies who are committed to improving accessibility.
What is Section 508- compliance?
Section 508 is part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requiring that federal agencies develop, maintain, acquire,
or use electronic and information technology to make the systems accessible to people with disabilities. The
most recent (1998) version of Section 508 establishes enforceable, government-wide standards.
What does accessible mean?
In general, an information technology system is accessible for people with disabilities if it can be used in
various ways that do not depend on a single sense or ability. For example, users should be able to navigate
with a keyboard, in addition to a mouse (not with a mouse only). Also, the visual and auditory elements of a
user interface must accommodate both hearing-impaired and visually impaired users.
What other types of assistive software do end users need?
Screen readers or text-to-speech utilities (which read the contents of the active window, menu options, or text
you have typed) and screen review aids translate onscreen text to speech or to a dynamic, refreshable, Braille
display. This assistive technology can provide keyboard assistance or shortcuts, captions for speech and sound,
and visual warnings such as flashing toolbars. Tools available include Windows Eye and JAWS.
What does Adobe Captivate do to be Section 508 compliant?
Selecting the 508 Compliance option makes certain elements in Adobe Captivate projects accessible or open to
accessibility technology. For example, if you select the 508 Compliance and you have filled in the project name
and project description text boxes in Project preferences, a screen reader will read the name and description
when the Adobe Captivate SWF file is played.
The following Adobe Captivate elements are accessible when the 508 Compliance option is selected:
Project name (derived from Project Properties)
Project description (derived from Project Properties)
Slide accessibility text
Slide label (derived from Slide Properties)
Playback controls (The function of each button is read by screen readers)
Password protection (If an Adobe Captivate SWF file is password protected, the prompt for a password
is read by screen readers)
 Question slides (Title, question, answers, button text, and scoring report are read by screen readers)
Output generated with the Section 508 option is displayed by all supported browsers. However, your output
may not be Section 508-compliant unless it is viewed with Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer is the only
browser with support for MSAA (Microsoft Active Accessibility).
To access Flash files using a screen reader, users must have Flash Player 9 or later installed.
The Access Board is an independent federal agency committed to accessibility for people with disabilities. For
more information about making your output compliant, see the Access Board website (
Adobe Captivate accessibility web page
For the latest information on creating and viewing accessible Adobe Captivate content, visit the Adobe
Captivate Accessibility Overview page on the Adobe website at
Creating accessible content
Create 508-compliant projects
Create an Adobe Captivate project using the Section 508 option to view and test the output. Generating the
Adobe Captivate project updates source files containing information about your project and creates output
files that you can publish for users. Read the tips for authoring and use the following procedure.
1. In an open project that you want to publish as 508-compliant, select Edit > Preferences (Windows) or
Adobe Captivate > Preferences (Mac OS).
2. In the Category panel, expand Project, and select Publish Settings.
3. Select Enable Accessibility in the Project panel.
Tips for creating 508-compliant Adobe Captivate SWF files
While Adobe Captivate Section 508 output is compliant for navigation, make sure that other elements are also
compliant in your project. Assistive software must be able to “read” elements on the screen to visually
impaired users. Use these tips to design accessible projects.
In the Project preferences, write a meaningful name and description for your Adobe Captivate
For users with hearing impairment, add text equivalents for audio elements. For example, when
delivering narrative audio, it is important to provide captions at the same time. One option is to place
a transparent caption in a fixed location on slides, then synchronize the text with the audio using the
If your project contains visual multimedia, provide information about the multimedia for users with
visual impairment. If a name and description are given for visual elements, Adobe Captivate can send
the information to the user through the screen reader. Make sure that audio in your Adobe Captivate
projects does not prevent users from hearing the screen reader.
Supply text for individual slides that screen readers can read.
Ensure that color is not the only means of conveying information. For example, if you use blue to
indicate active links, also use bold, italics, underlining, or some other visual clue. In addition, make sure
that foreground and background contrast sufficiently to make text readable by people with low vision
or color blindness.
For users with either visual or mobility impairment, ensure that controls are device independent or
accessible by keyboard.
Users with cognitive impairments often respond best to uncluttered design that is easily navigable.
If mouse movement is critical in your Adobe Captivate project, consider making the pointer twice its
normal size for easier viewing.
Document methods of accessibility for users.
Avoid looping objects. When a screen reader encounters content meant for Flash Player, the screen
reader notifies the user with audio, such as “Loading….load done.” As content in a project changes,
Flash Player sends an event to the screen reader notifying it of a change. In response, the screen
reader returns to the top of the page and begins reading again. Therefore, a looping text animation on
a slide, for example, can cause the screen reader to continually return to the top of the page.
Accessibility in Adobe Captivate demos works better when all the slides have interactive content. If
you are using JAWS 6.1 or later, be aware that JAWS sometimes does not clear the Microsoft Active
Accessibility (MSAA) tree. As a result, the content of previous slides can replay when slides are
continuous. This problem does not occur in JAWS 4.5.
Ensure that the Accessibility dialog box is not blank. Import slide notes or type appropriate instructions
in the Accessibility dialog box.
Time your slides and objects appropriately. Provide enough time for the user/screen reader to read
the contents on the slide. You can make use of interactive objects; interactive objects pause the movie
until the user interacts.
If you do not factor in sufficient time, the movie advances to the next slide before all objects can be read. In
such a case, some objects on the next slide may not be read by screen readers.
Specify alt-text for images. Otherwise an image is read as just 'image' by the screen readers.
Add accessibility text to slides
A screen reader can read aloud text that appears on the computer screen. Screen readers are useful for people
with visual impairment. In Adobe Captivate, you can write text describing each slide for screen readers to read
1. Open the slide to which you want to add accessible text.
2. In the Property Inspector, click Accessibility.
3. Type the text that you want the screen reader to read aloud.
4. To use the slide notes (Text-to-speech and closed captioning included), click Import Slide Notes, and
click OK.
Specify the Tab order for interactive objects
While using a screen reader, your users can use:
Tab key to navigate through interactive objects
Arrow keys to navigate through non-interactive and interactive objects
If your course requires your users to navigate through only interactive objects, you can include appropriate
instructions as accessibility text (Accessibility dialog box).
By default, the interactive objects are read based on their z-order. You can change the order in which a screen
reader must read the interactive objects when users press the tab key.
1. Click Tab Order in the Property Inspector of the slide.
All interactive objects, except click boxes and rollover objects, are listed in the Tab Order dialog box. Click
boxes are not visible at runtime and therefore are not listed in the Tab Order dialog box. For Rollover objects,
add accessibility text to Rollover Area and users can use arrow keys to navigate to the object.
2. In the Tab Order dialog box, use the arrow keys to place the components in the order in which you
want them to be read.
3. (Optional) To restrict the focus on slide items when users use the Tab key, select Restrict Keyboard
Tabbing To Slide Items Only in Preferences (Edit > Preferences > Publish Settings).
When you enable this option, TOC and playbar of the project are skipped and only the slide items are focused
upon when users press the Tab key. However, in HTML5 outputs, the focus goes to the Address bar of the
browser after all the slide items are tabbed.
4. (Optional) To disable the rectangles that appear when objects are selected, in HTML5 output, select
Hide Selection Rectangle For Slide Items in HTML5 in Preferences (Edit > Preferences > Publish
Customize accessibility text for objects
You can add accessible text to individual objects on a slide. When the object appears in the movie, the screen
reader reads that text aloud. If you do not specify accessible text for an object, the screen reader reads the
default text. For example, if the object is an image, it reads Graphics Image. This default text is generally not
sufficiently descriptive to help a visually impaired user. Also, objects other than text captions and text entry
boxes do not contain any text. Accessible text for such objects can help users understand their purpose in the
1. Select the object whose accessibility text you want to customize.
2. In the Property Inspector, click Accessibility.
3. Deselect Auto Label. When Auto Label is selected, the text in the object is read aloud by the screen
4. In the Item Accessibility dialog box, do the following:
Accessibility Name
Enter the accessibility name. For a text caption, you can enter “This text is in a caption,” for example.
Accessibility Description
Add a description to clarify information for the person using the screen reader. For example, consider the text
caption “Select File> Edit Image.” You can change the text to “From the File menu, select the Edit Image
command. This command is available only when an image is selected on the slide.”
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