Using Microsoft PowerPoint is an easy and effective way to present information for a lecture in a class. However, there are steps that need to taken to ensure students with visual impairments and those who rely on assistive technology can access the material.
Following these steps will help create positive learning experiences for all of our students.
PowerPoint has built in slide templates that allow the user to have slide titles which helps screen reader users navigate through a presentation. To make sure your slide has a proper template right click on the slide and select Layout.
Having insufficient color contrast in a PowerPoint means that it contains text that may not be legible. This mainly includes having light colored text on a light-colored background or vice versa. Insufficient color contrast also applies to having a lot text that is green or red because color blindness is a fairly common visual disability.
Red/Green Insufficient Contrast
Poor Text and Background Contrast
Grey Insufficient Contrast
Follow these recommended tips to improve text readability in your presentations:
For more on color contrast in documents visit Blackboard’s Text Contrast Page.
Alternative text, or “alt text” describes the content of images, graphs and charts for Screen readers and Braille devices. The descriptions should be 1 or 2 meaningful sentences that best describe the image to someone who cannot see it. Adding alt text to an image in Word is fast and easy.
While images of text might makeyour slides easier to create , especially when it comes to complex scientific or math equations, they are not readable for users who rely on assistive technology.
Avoid using images of text in any capacity within your slides whenever possible. If an image of text must be added to your slide then be sure to add in alternative text to that image so all users can consume that information!
This photo contains a lot of text that may be too much to insert into an image description. It may be much more accessible to include the text in the actual document.
Tables are very useful to organize data in a document. However, not taking the proper steps to making a table accessible will make it very hard for screen reader and braille users to understand the data. Tables should only be used when absolutely necessary in organizing data and should avoid being used for decorative purposes.
Making the top row a header row will allow for screen readers to recognize data more efficiently.
Adding links in a document is a great way to provide sources of additional information. However, using an entire URL link is not an accessible method. Using the hyperlink in Microsoft Powerpoint is a much more accessible method.
Whenever a hyperlink is created, the color of the text will automatically change depending on the presentation's design layout. Sometimes that color may contain insufficient contrast that could pose an issue for some students. The video below shows how to automatically change the color of all of your hyperlinks.
If you want to make sure that your PowerPoint presentation is accessible, you can use Word’s Accessibility Checker. Microsoft products have a built-in accessibility checker which can help the document creator test the overall accessibility of the document. The checker provides Inspection Results, feedback about the importance of each item, and tips on how to repair issues. To access the Accessibility Checker click on File, Info, Check for Issues, and Check Accessibility.