As a presenter, you have the opportunity to share information to a wide range of audiences. There's certain techniques you can employ during the presentation process in person or online, to ensure your presentation is accessible to as many participants as possible. Using the concept of Universal Design along with suggestions from the University of Washington's "Making Your Conference Talk Accessible," we have created a short list of items to consider:
Presentation (In person or Online)
- Use a microphone. Don't assume you can easily be heard
- Provide instructions on how participants can ask questions
- If participants ask questions and they don't have access to speak over a microphone, repeat the question.
- For online presentations, it is recommended to allow flexibility in the ways participants can interact and repeat what is being asked or shared.
- Describe charts, graphs, graphics/animations. Don't assume individuals can read or see what is presented on the slide.
- Make sure your font is large enough and easy to read (Suggestion: 30-point font and use clear, san serif, fonts such as Arial, Verdana, etc.)
- Ensure good color contrast for easy viewing.
- If using a laserpointer or your mouse to highlight items, describe the item you are highlighting.
- If you are explaining how to navigate or access a website be as descriptive as possible by stating the labels of sections or buttons and links. Don't assume all participants will navigate the same way you do. Replace terms such as "Click on" with "Select," and "Scroll down" with "Navigate to [describe area]."
- Videos shown should have captions if they have audio. If there is no audio with the video, the presenter should describe what is being shown.
Materials (In Person or Online)
- Send accessible presentation materials to attendees prior to meeting (View information on accessible PowerPoint Design)
- Have an accessible electronic version of any handouts available.
- Have a few copies with at least 18-point font; use clear fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman.
Space (In Person)
- Consider physical layout of the room and ensure the space is accessible for wheelchair users and other accommodations.
- If your presentation contains activities: think about accessibility of the activity. Would someone with low vision, limited mobility or hearing loss be able to participate? If your audience is unknown, plan ahead with contingencies.
- Let your audience know the approximate length of a presentation and if appropriate, the opportunity to stand or move about the room, being mindful of others.
- Let audience/participants know the approximate length of the presentation.
- Remind them of the opportunity to have their camera off/on or move about their own space if needed.
- Announce the preferred time and method of submitting questions or anticipated interaction.
- How to Make Presentations Accessible to All
- Accessible Meetings, Events, and Conferences Guide
- Inclusive teaching: audio describing your own presentations
- Make Your Presentations Accessible: Seven Easy Steps
- How can you make your presentation accessible?
- Zoom Accessibility Techniques
- Accessible virtual meeting techniques
- Accessible Information Exchange: Meeting on a Level Playing Field, US Department of Justice