Presentation slides are usually a helpful visual which marks topics within a presentation or lecture. Traditionally, it is highly encouraged to use a visual when presenting information. Whether we know our audience or not, it is important to create these slides with accessibility in mind. First, choosing a platform that allows you to add accessibility is important, as not all platforms provide this opportunity as a feature which can add work to the creator in the long run.
Standard Accessibility Features
Use of Slide Layouts and Titles
When creating accessible slides, focusing on the layout of a slide is important as all slides should have a different title, which allows a screen reader to search the presentation as those with sight may do when scanning. Preset slide’s allow have content boxes already tagged appropriately and placed in an appropriate reading order (from top to bottom, left to right). By using the preset slide layouts, accessibility is already apart of your slide. Should you choose to use a blank slide and add in text boxes, this may require additional work, such as adding alternative text, to the text box, checking and adjusting the read order of a slide, and adjusting a text box to be the heading by converting your slides to PDF and tagging appropriately through the use of specialized software, such as Acrobat Adobe Pro.
Use of List Structure
Similar to using a heading structure, bulleted or Numbered lists add a layer of structure to your document. When lists are included using the paragraph menu in Word, this allows screen reading software to notify non-sighted users that they will be listening to a list of some kind. Bulleted lists should be used when listing information, whereas numbered lists should be used when explaining a step-by-step process.
Use of Alternative Text for All Images, Charts, and Graphs
Alternative text is required for any visual picture that provides a user with meaningful information. If an image is present in a document but does not have alternative text, or is not tagged appropriately, a screen reader will not have any information to provide to a non-sighted user. This user will then not know if the information on the screen is important. Alternative text should be clear, concise and descriptive in nature. If information about the image is already within the text, it may not need to be added again through the alternative text process.
Use of Meaningful Text for Hyperlinks
All active links within a document should include meaningful text, especially if this document will be or could be shared electronically. URL’s are only appropriately used for documents that will be printed. Hyperlinks (activated links) should use descriptions of the page, or the web-page title to provide information to non-sighted users. Screen reading software allows non-sighted users to tab through all hyperlinks. When a link is activated, a screen reader will state link before reading the meaningful text, or URL if not changed.
PowerPoint is the preferred method of presenting materials to an audience as it can be created to be accessible to all audience members. Should you find that your file size is too large, to upload, an accessible PowerPoint can be converted into a PDF, which will transfer all the accessibility from PowerPoint to the PDF.
PowerPoint – PC
Screen Cast, Creating an Accessible PowerPoint – PowerPoint 2019
Screen Cast, Creating an Accessible PowerPoint for Mac
A great alternative to PowerPoint! Allows the creator to create with accessibility by following similar structure and guidelines as PowerPoint, however as it is online, it doesn’t matter if a user has a Mac or a PC when creating the slides, or viewing them.
Screen Cast, Creating Accessible Google Slides