Accessible Presentations

Accessible information is just as important as accessible physical spaces. Here are tips to make your presentations accessible to larger audiences.

Accessible Presentations

PowerPoint

Handouts

Speaking

Video

Checklist

 

PowerPoint

Keep the design simple

  • Use a simple, uncluttered design template

  • Use sans serif fonts such as Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Helvetica, Myriad, or APHont (a font developed specifically for low-vision readers), in 24-point font or greater

  • Use pre-defined boxes already incorporated into templates rather than creating your own. Adding new page elements can reduce the ability of adaptive software to read the information.

  • Limit the number of bullet points and total quantity of text per slide. If your audience is largely made up of people with learning disability 2 to 3 bullets per slide is best.

Images and links

  • Add a meaningful description to hyperlinks and avoid saying only “click here.” This will mean that a student using assistive technology will hear your descriptive text and not just a nonsensical collection of letters and words that make up the url.

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  • Provide all images with alternative text descriptions. Alt text is read by assistive technologies in place of the image, making the image’s content and function within the document accessible to students with visual disabilities. To insert alternative text, right-click the image and select Size.  Select the Alt Text tab to enter text.

Slide transitions

  • Minimize the number of transitions, as they can interfere with assistive technology

  • Ask presenters to speak loud and clear and to describe visual info or slide transitions

  • Use audible slide transitions notifying audience members that you are moving to a new slide. Open the Slide Show menu and select Slide Transition. A Slide Transition pane will appear on the right side of the screen.

  • Disable automatic slide transitions and ensure slides change “on click”. This allows audience members who want to review your slides at a later time to control the speed with which slides change.

Check for accessibility

  • Use the Document Accessibility Checker to check for accessibility issues. This tool is able to scan for elements that are missing descriptive text, elements that have no assigned order for adaptive technologies, slides that have no assigned titles, and other issues.

Handouts

Font

  • Use 1.5 line spacing instead of Word's default 1 as it makes your text easier to read

  • Limit the use of italics and underlining; bold text works best for emphasis

  • Font should be at least 14, in easy-to-read styles such as Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Calibri, Helvetica, or Myriad. Avoid fonts that resemble handwriting.

Words

  • Use plain English when possible

  • Avoid acronyms, or clearly explain what they stand for

  • Use digits (1) instead of alphabetically spelled numbers (one)

  • Do not start a word on a line and then finish it on another

Organization

  • ​Number the pages, as this makes it easier to keep track of what has been read

  • Leave white space between images and text to avoid difficult-to-read cluttering

  • Give documents an explicit structure using formatting (headings, bullet points and numbered steps) instead of using dashes or the space tab to indicate structure

Other Tips

  • If you are using Word, check document accessibility by selecting the “File” tab in the Ribbon to open the Backstage View. In the “Info” section, click the “Check for Issues” drop-down button in the “Inspect Document” area. Then click the “Check Accessibility” command to launch the task pane. A list of “Errors” and/or “Warnings” may appear.

  • Provide copies at least a day ahead of time allows time for students using assistive technologies to access materials and will give all students time to prepare. Sharing documents in advance, including glossaries of new terms or acronyms, is especially helpful for those with learning disabilities and those whose first language is not English.

Speaking

  • Use a loud, clear voice

  • Speak slowly and repeat key points

  • Try to arrange sign language interpretation

  • Allow for a pause between transitions in a presentation, so that people can collect their thoughts and have time to catch-up

Video

  • When possible, choose videos that are already captioned for hearing-impaired viewers

  • When videos have no captions, try doing it yourself using free tool such as Handbrake

  • Provide a transcript of the video 

  • When choosing how to deliver your video, it is important to consider options that are fully accessible. Able Player, a free, open-source media player that was developed with accessibility in mind. For additional information see Able Player on GitHub.

Download Accessible Presentations Checklist (PDF)

Download Accessible Presentations Checklist (Word)

Accessibility Main Page​​

 
 
 
 

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Editor, Spencer van Vloten: spencer@bcdisability.com

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