University of Texas at Arlington

Scholarly Communication

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Inclusive Design Webcast Series: Presentation Recap

by Michelle Reed February 12, 2019
Disability symbols

To promote a proactive approach to accessibility, UTA Libraries are screening the BCcampus Inclusive Design Webinar Series at noon each Tuesday in February in Central Library B04. 

Today’s session by Josie Gray of BCcampus focused on creating accessible presentations. Josie began by reminding us that our first consideration when developing presentation materials should be the audience in the room. Ensuring that everyone can hear, read, and see the content of your presentation is crucial, and presenters should consider how to prepare for attendees who can’t engage in these activities so they can participate fully.

Slide Accessibility

The first step to delivering an accessible presentation is designing accessible materials. Below are tips for building slides in PowerPoint.

  1. Use slide layouts for consistent formatting. Text boxes are not accessible for people using screen readers.
  2. Every slide should have a unique heading and text should be placed in heading style. Do not put heading text in a text box.
  3. When adding text, use large text in simple font (e.g., Calibri, Arial). Embrace white space. Avoid use of all caps and excessive use of special formatting.
  4. Include alt text for images by right-clicking on the image.
  5. Pay attention to color contrast. Use to check contrast before presentations. Never use color alone to convey information. Label information and preview slides in greyscale.
  6. Use descriptive link text. Use link shorteners for long, complicated URLs.
  7. Make use of built-in accessibility checkers. This option is under the Review tab in PowerPoint.

Presentation Accessibility

There’s more to presenting than simply being an engaging speaker. Keep the following guidelines in mind when you’re presenting.

  1. Use a microphone. Don’t expect audience members to inform you when they have difficulty hearing.
  2. Use microphones for audience questions. When this is not possible, the presenter should repeat audience questions and comments before responding.
  3. Describe all visual content. Though you don’t have to read text word for word, you should provide enough information for the audience to know what you are talking about without reading the slide.

Post-Presentation Accessibility

Whenever possible, presenters are encouraged to share presentations with others who aren’t able to attend in person, such as sharing a captioned recording of the presentation or presentations slides.

  1. Provide a text alternative before or after the event, such as slides with detailed speaker notes or a full presentation script.
  2. Make presentation materials available before the presentation if possible.
  3. Include copyright and licensing information in your presentation materials, even when materials are not openly licensed.

For an example, take a look at Jess Mitchell’s keynote presentation slides from the 15th Annual Open Education Conference held in October 2018. Additionally, the presentation was recorded and can be viewed on YouTube.

We look forward to seeing you next Tuesday at noon for part three of the series. Next week’s topic is accessibility in Pressbooks, which is the web-based publishing platform used by UTA Libraries to create and disseminate UTA-authored open educational resources. Learn more about Pressbooks or request access to our Sandbox by visiting our guide.