PowerPoint is the most popular presentation formats. Many instructors use this format to create an organized lecture for online instruction and in traditional classrooms.
Similar to documents, PowerPoint presentations can be made more accessible. For example, keep the layout simple, text readable, and make sure you have enough color contrast.
Accessible PowerPoints benefit many students
- High contrast allows students with low vision or colorblindness or students viewing in low light or sitting at the back of the room to access the information on the screen
- The “title” of the slide will present as a heading 1 to a screen reading device, which allows students using these devices to follow the flow of information. Consistency in appearance also all students to follow the organization of the information
Strategies for creating accessible PowerPoints
- Choosing themes with simple backgrounds and high contrast between background and text
- Microsoft has created optional templates with high accessibility (add link)
- Maintain the slide layout with “title”
- Construct the “title” as a descriptive title that logically outlines the presentation
- Use the “new slide” tab to create a new slide to maintain the consistency of the presentation
- If you must change the layout of the slide, use the “layout” tab under the “home” menu which will create a dropdown of option for layouts that maintain the title/body structure
- Use sans serif fonts, 32 point or larger, with no more than six lines of text with no more than six words per line
- Use a mixture of uppercase and lower-case letters
- Keep figures and images simple
- Provide links to audio and video rather than embedding them into the slides. Too much technology in one slide makes your presentation difficult for screen readers to interpret.
- Be sure that everything on your slides is usable without a mouse. Test this by navigating your presentation using only the keyboard (the arrow keys, tab, enter, space bar, etc.).
- label any interactive buttons or other elements on your slides.
- Keep animation to a minimum
Use the built-in Accessibility Checker to make sure your presentation is accessible. In the File menu, choose Inspect Document and then Check Accessibility to bring up a panel on the far right of your screen. This will show you a list of the accessibility errors in your document and how to fix them.
Adding Captions and Narration
- Adding Captions, Annotations, and/or Subtitles to Presentations
- Creating Captions and Subtitles in PowerPoint
- Adding narration and more interactive multimedia elements through programs like Adobe Presenter (1:33 video) and Articulate Storyline (1:46 video)
Many students benefit from accessible presentations
- Students who are deaf or hard of hearing or distracted by ambient noise or sitting in a place where they cannot hear all ranges of sound benefit from seeing the speaker as they talk
- Students who experience low vision or who do not have full access to the presentation screen (for example, the person in front of them is tall) benefit from hearing the information presented through images or text on the screen
Strategies for making presentation accessible
- Face the audience whenever you are speaking
- Read the text on the screen, slowly and clearly
- Describe the visual representation of data on the screen
- Explain the area of the slide you are discussing, do not just point to information
- Describe images on the screen as part of the presentation