Top 5 Strategies for Increasing Accessibility in Presentations

Access Angle: Top 5 Strategies for Increasing Accessibility in Presentations

By: Gabriel Ryan, School Health Blog Writer and Contributor

How do I increase accessibility in presentations you ask?

Keeping some considerations in mind when developing your next presentation will enable even more participants to access the content you are sharing. Several computer programs have made it really easy to create presentations with lightning speed. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the colors, graphics, and animations. In an effort to ensure the widest access to participants with differing learning styles, consider these top 5 strategies.

  1. Closed Captions for Multimedia Content: When including videos or audio clips in presentations, turn on the closed caption option. This option can also be turned on when hosting an online meeting.  Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, that are able to read, would potentially be able to access the material should an interpreter not be present. Closed captions also benefit those who may be viewing the presentation if they are in a noisy environment, not able to use their sound, or prefer to read along.
  2. Fonts and Colors: Certain fonts are easier to read for individuals with visual impairments or dyslexia. Examples of fonts that you might try are Arial, Calibri, or Verdana. Color of text and background are also important. The computer lets us choose all the colors under the rainbow, however not everyone can see certain color combinations. For this reason, choose color combinations that are high contrast between the font and the background. Avoid conveying information using color alone, include descriptions or labels where possible.
  3. Alt Text for Images and Graphics: Include descriptive alternative text (alt text) for all elements that are visual such as pictures, graphics, charts, etc. This helps to provide context for someone not able to clearly see the image or graphic. Alt text should briefly describe the image or graphic.
  4. Minimize Large Blocks of Content: Structuring content with headings and bulleted lists improves organization and allows participants to see key points easier. Participants that use a screen reader can best access content when it includes the formal structure of headings and subheadings or numbered and bulleted lists. Limiting clutter of several animated or unnecessarily overlapping graphics helps to keep the focus on your content. Breaking the information down into smaller segments of content or splitting the information up across several slides makes for a better participant experience.
  5. Learn, Practice, Ask: There are several software programs that include an accessibility tab, for example Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, both include accessibility checkers that provide suggestions on improving the accessibility of your page or presentation. A quick search online will land you on documents and YouTube videos with tutorials on how to format materials. There are even companies that, for a small fee, offer to edit your materials to ensure they meet the standard compliance requirements. Ask your participants for feedback on your materials to see if in fact they are accessible to the population you were trying to reach.

Learning how to make presentations and materials accessible takes time and practice. When you take the extra step to incorporate these considerations, it expands access and increases the possibility for participants with a variety of learning needs to benefit from the content presented.

“Accessibility allows us to tap into everyone’s potential.” ― Debra Ruh

Let us know: Did you find this article interesting? Would you like to read more of these types of articles? Do you have a topic you would like to see highlighted? Contact me, Gabe Ryan, through email: I’d love to know how you’ve used the information from the School Health Access Angle segments.


Posted in Access Angle Segment