Notes on Accessible Presentations

This page is outdated. See updated information in How to Make Presentations Accessible to All.


This document provides information on making a presentation accessible to:

Preparing slides and other materials

Examples of accessible HTML slides and images are provided below.

Display large text and use large images
Ensure that the text and images in your "slides" and other displayed information is large enough to be easily read from the back of the room. For HTML slides, don't specify an absolute font size (see WCAG 1.0 Guideline 3.4); allow the reader to choose their own font size preference when they read your slides.
Include descriptions of visuals in online presentations
For HTML presentation material, include a text alternative for images and other visuals, per WCAG 1.0 Checkpoint 1.1. For example, provide an "alt" attribute for each IMG elements that conveys the meaning of the image, as well as for each OBJECT element.
For complex images, provide a link to a detailed description of the content of the image through a "longdesc" attribute in IMG element, a link inside an OBJECT element, or a description link marked with [D]. (For help, see the list of techniques.)
National Braille Association provides good instructions for describing complex images.
Ensure that your online presentation materials are accessible
HTML pages should conform to (at a minimum) Level A the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (checklist), and preferably to Level AA. Accessibility evaluation tools and guidance at "Evaluating Web Sites for Accessibility" can help with checking accessibility.

During the presentation

Describe images and other visuals
Verbally describe any images or other visuals that you display. To help with this, pretend that there are people participating in the meeting via phone - what do you need to tell them about what is being displayed.
Be careful about saying things like, "As you see in the graph, there was a significant jump in usage." Any references to the visual will likely need a brief explanation of what is being displayed.
Use the microphone for ALDs
Most assistive listening devices (ALDs) connect to the room's sound system. Therefore, if someone is using such an ALD, you must use the sound system (microphone), even if other people can hear you without it.
When people are following along remotely
If you have an online presentation that people are following along remotely or if people might be listening to the audio in the future and following along with the online presentation, remember to say where you are in the online present ion, e.g., "Slide 7..."

Sample accessible slides

An example of accessible slides are Wendy Chisholm and Shadi Abou-Zahra's "Metadata for Accessibility Adaptation." It contains complex images with descriptions, valid HTML, and is generated with the W3C slidemaker tool.

Another example of accessible slides are Gottfried Zimmermann's from the "Teleconference on Making Collaboration Technologies Accessible for Persons with Disabilities," which start at http://www.w3.org/WAI/RD/2003/04-GZ/Presentation/Overview-1.html. Note that Slide 4 has a complex .gif image along with:

Some resources online