Presenting Accessibly Guide
To support Code4Lib’s commitment to accessibility, presenters play a critical role. To support the production and giving of accessible presentations, we have compiled this resource of good practices and techniques.
Code4Lib 2023 Specifics
Any specific accessibility considerations for the 2023 conference will be mentioned here.
Presenters are encouraged to use the following guidelines to ensure that their presentations are visually accessible to attendees and when the slides are viewed on their own. Some of the guidelines also apply to creating accessible files for sharing.
- Avoid fonts that use thin strokes in the characters.
- Choose readable sans serif or serif fonts. Generally avoid script fonts. Limit use of monospaced fonts for special contexts, such as source code.
- Suggested fonts include: Helvetica and its clones (Arial, Calibri, etc.), Gill Sans, Comic Sans (seriously!), Verdana, Franklin Gothic, Rockwell, Tahoma, Lucida, and Times New Roman.
- Use underlining, italics, and boldface sparingly. Underlining should be used for links. Use bold and italics for emphasis on specific terms but not whole sentences.
- Aim for a font size of 20-32 points. Generally, do not go below 18-point for slide content. Limit use of the smaller fonts to incidental information, such as an image source.
- If you use any non-standard fonts, consider embedding the fonts in your presentation to avoid the headaches of font substitution that may effect sizing, change line breaks, and create missing symbols.
- Choose text and background colors that have good contrast. You can use a contrast checker to check for good contrast. The web accessibility thresholds are not strictly relevant to slide presentations, but higher contrast is still better than lower. Avoid going lower than a contrast ratio of 3:1, although 4.5:1 would be an even better minimum. The Viz Palette Designer can be used to select color palettes.
- Avoid using just color alone to give meaning to distinguish different elements on your slides. Not only is this relying on properly color-balanced projectors, some attendees may have color blindness. In addition to color, use patterns or labels to further distinguish elements.
- For color blindness considerations, generally avoid strictly red-green or yellow-blue color combinations. These are the two most common types of color blindness. If you are uncertain about a color choice, a color blindness simulator may help.
- Note that color contrast checkers already take into account color blindness. No additional checking for those situations is necessary.
Charts, Tables, and Images
- Provide a title for each table as well as headings for columns and rows as necessary. Do not rely alone on your verbal patter to explain what a table is and means.
- In charts and graphs, do not use just color. Add patterns, symbols, or labels to help distinguish different elements.
- Be prepared to provide a description of any image that you use on a slide. Viewers with low vision, blindness, or obstructed views may otherwise miss the intended visual impact.
Videos and Animations
- Provide a warning slide at the start of your talk if your talk uses a lot of animations or other types of movement to avoid causing nausea and dizziness in some viewers.
- Avoid blinking text and animations that endlessly repeat.
- If a video contains sound or dialogue, please try to use a version with captioning.
Presenters can also take additional actions during the presentation to increase accessibility and inclusion:
- If your presentation features lots of animations, videos, etc., please include a warning at the start of your talk. This is especially needed if any contain lots of flicker.
- Describe images to the audience as you present, and give a brief description of a video before you play it if it has no captions.
- Instead of asking your audience to read a slide, read it aloud to them instead. The audience may not be able to see the slides or could be viewing on a small screen.
- Read aloud any URLs to the audience. Use a URL shortener like tinyurl or bit.ly to make it easier.
- Since Code4Lib provides captioning, please turn off any automatic captioning that comes from PowerPoint, Google Slides, etc. These get burned into the recording and cannot be edited for correctness afterwards.
Sharing your slides benefits accessibility in many ways. Being able to download the slides can help people who may not have a good view of the projected talk so they can follow along. Attendees can also refer to the slides afterwards to refresh their memories. Captioners can use the slides to improve the quality of the live text stream by properly spelling jargon, names, etc.
How to Share
All presenters are encouraged to share their slides, ideally with some lead time before you present. We recommend this approach for sharing them.
- Upload your slides to the Code4Lib 2023 OSF Repository.
- In your talk, share a link to the archive page at the start of the talk. Speak the URL aloud and include it on several slides so people can reach it.
Creating Accessible Files
To further promote disability access, presenters are encouraged to make the effort to provide their slides in accessible formats.
- When possible, use the built-in features in the presentation software to generate charts and tables as the software will format the data in ways generally more accessible to assistive technologies.
- Images, graphs, and data visualizations should include alternate text that explains both what it is and what important aspects should be takeaways.
- Utilize any built-in features in your presentation software that promote accessibility. This includes PowerPoint’s built-in accessibility checker and Google Slide’s accessibility features.
- If you convert your slides into another format, like PDF, check that new format for accessibility.
- When uploading your materials into the repository, include different formats if you did any conversion. Different formats can support accessibility if any issues occur.
- The #accessibility channel on the Code4Lib Slack
- Digital Library Federation on Accessible Presentations
- Make your PowerPoint Presentation Accessible by Microsoft
- Making Google Slides more Accessible
- Grackle: Add-On for Checking Google Slides Accessibility
- PDF Accessibility by WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind)
- Make Your Presentations Accessible: Seven Easy Steps by Whitney Quesenbery