This is the next blog in our series on how to create more inclusive working environments in honour of October being National Disability Employment Awareness Month. By ensuring our workspaces are inclusive for all, we are able to ensure the 6 million+ Canadian adults with disabilities are included.
Microsoft’s PowerPoint presentation is an excellent communication tool for presenters. PowerPoint provides a variety of ways to liven up a presentation, including the ability to use fun and unique fonts along with the ability to add photos, videos and other visuals. But one thing that the presenter commonly overlooks is the accessibility aspect of PowerPoint presentations.
Here are five ways to help you make your PowerPoint presentation more inclusive:
Add Alt Text to your visuals
Alt text stands for alternative text and is used within HTML code to describe the appearance and function of an image on a web page. Photos that include alt text go a long way to helping people with low vision access what you are showing on screen if they are using screen readers. Adding alternative text to your visual (such as pictures and charts), you are assisting those who cannot see the screen with understanding the visual you are sharing.
Add alt text to your images in your PowerPoint presentation by:
- Add your image by clicking ‘Insert,’ selecting ‘Pictures’ from the ribbon, then choosing ‘This Device.’
- When the image appears in your slide, you’ll see PowerPoint’s suggested alt text appear at the bottom of the image.
- To change alt text, click on it.
- Click on the text field that appears in the alt text pane that opens on the right side of the screen.
- Edit the alt text. Be specific and concise. Write what you see. A few words are usually enough. Never start with “Image of…” or “Picture of…” as it’s evident to the person or screen reader when they’re accessing alt text but explaining the type of image (e.g. illustration, chart, etc.) is suitable for context.
Use effective contrast for your text/background colours
To help those with low vision or colorblindness, using effective contrast between your text and background helps those with low vision or colourblindness. Dark text works well with a white background and white text works well with a dark background. Ideally, sticking with a black and white colour scheme is best as it works for people who are colourblind and those who are not. Microsoft provides a web-based Accessibility Checker to ensure your Microsoft Office content is easy for people of varying abilities to consume.
Use a larger font size and utilize white space
For people with dyslexia or low vision, using a larger font size and an appropriate amount of white space in your presentation will ease the reading experience. Use at least an 18pt size font and stick to familiar sans serif fonts such as Arial, Verdana, Tahoma. Sans serif versions of typefaces are often more legible as the letters are simple without flourishes.
Make sure that colour is not the only way to highlight information
A common way to highlight important information, such as hyperlinks or headers in your presentations, is to change the colour of the text. However, people who are blind or have low vision may have difficulties deciphering the highlighted information. Instead, add an underline or bold to the important text. This will ensure that those who have low vision will know that the hyperlink is clickable.
Use captions and subtitles or video descriptions in your videos
Use captions, subtitles or video descriptions in videos in your PowerPoint. For those who have hearing loss, captions and subtitles effectively communicate what is happening in the video. For those with a vision disability, video descriptions can also help communicate the video’s contents.
We hope that you consider these practices when creating your next PowerPoint presentation to ensure that your presentation can be for everyone, everywhere!