Last Reviewed 01/20/2014

Versions 5.5


This article describes tips, tricks, and best practices for using Mediasite with various screen reader programs.


Mediasite software allows people using assistive technology (AT) to access information, controls, and (in many cases) functionality for submitting forms. Specifically, the Mediasite Player and Catalog can be used with screen readers, such as Window-Eyes and JAWS. Both applications have standard and consistent images and controls as well as keyboard access, in the form of keyboard shortcuts, for all operations.

Mediasite software includes the following features that work with screen readers:


There are tooltips throughout the Mediasite software. When a screen reader is used with the Mediasite Player or Catalog, users can use different keys to access items (controls, links, etc.) in the applications. Tooltips for these controls are voiced as they gain focus. When a control's tooltip is voiced, users can press the Enter key to select the control.

Slide descriptions

You can add slide descriptions that can be read by screen readers to on-demand presentations using the Mediasite Editor. Slide descriptions are text representations of slide content that are displayed in place of slide images.

Considerations when using screen readers

There are some limitations to what slide descriptions can provide visually impaired users. Therefore, it is important when delivering content for rich media presentations to let presenters know they are serving a broad audience and to make the experience better for those using assistive technology, they must be as descriptive as possible when referring to presentation support materials. For example, presenters should describe the content of each slide or at least make it clear that they are describing the slide at some point in the audio and indicate slide changes.

Here are some additional considerations formulated by Sonic Foundry Engineering when testing various screen readers:

  • Screen readers can be used to identify the operations available on the Player user interface.
  • If a presentation or catalog is secured, users must log into the Mediasite system before they
  • can view a presentation in the Player or browse the catalog.
  • In the Player and Catalog, there are keyboard shortcuts available for all operations. However, the following should be taken into account:
    • Users need to know Mediasite's keyboard shortcuts in advance. It is very important to provide your audience information (special help page, email, etc.) describing keyboard shortcuts. All keyboard shortcuts are documented and available in the Help files.
    • To use Mediasite's keyboard shortcuts with the Player or Catalog users must update the default screen reader settings: Window-Eyes users will turn 'Browse Mode" off. JAWS users will turn "Navigation Quick Keys" off.

  • Sonic Foundry supports text descriptions on slides. However, the following should be taken into account:
    • Users need to know how to change the slide area to show descriptions (keyboard shortcut: Shift+S).
    • Some screen readers read only the first line of slide descriptions.
    • In some cases users must move the mouse one line at a time for the screen reader to read the full text.
    • Screen readers are unable to detect slide changes.
    • The screen reader audio for slide descriptions could potentially interfere with the presentation's audio.
    • The Q&A, Email, and Links forms in the Mediasite Player do not work with screen readers.

Note: The considerations above have been set by Sonic Foundry Engineering and have not been verified by the appropriate class of users. However, there are many resources available that provide general considerations when delivering rich media content to those using assistive technology, including the following web resources:

WCAG 2.0 Checklist

WebAIM Section 508 Checklist

Additional Comments

For more information about Mediasite accessibility, please see the following articles:

KBA3156: Tips for using Mediasite with Window-Eyes and JAWS

KBA3160: Mediasite 5.x keyboard shortcuts

Mediasite Content Accessibility tech planner


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