When creating any learning resources within PowerPoint it is essential to ensure that the information contain within it can be accessed by all your students. Whilst remote teaching you won’t be present to clarify your slides, the following tips can help to ensure your slides are accessible.
Five easy tips for more accessible PowerPoint presentations:
Use existing slide layouts
Use an inbuilt slide layout or template within PowerPoint. The inbuilt slide layouts provide a correct reading order of the elements on the slide, essential for anyone using screen reader to read aloud slides. If you need to adapt a layout check the reading order with the tab key, the focus will move to the next object as a screen reader would. Chosen templates should have a high contrast colour scheme. Try and keep layouts visually consistent to improve overall comprehension by making your slides easy to scan and find information.
Why? Structured layouts are easier for everyone to comprehend and are essential to anyone using a screen reader.
How? Learn how to check the reading order of slides and change the sequence of objects.
Make your text content readable
For written content keep it simple and concise on slides. When adding text use simple, sans serif fonts such as Arial in at least the default 18 point size. Leave plenty of white space on slides by limiting the amount of text on each slide. Generally, don’t add more than 7 lines of text per slide.
Why? Uncluttered slides with clearer text will be more readable and will help those with visual impairment and dyslexia.
How? Follow the guidelines for inclusive learning resources for more information on how to improve text- based and presentation resources for accessibility.
Use descriptive web links
To further help in the clarity of written content try not to add full web addresses to slides. In most cases your web links should be a description of where the link will take the reader. Never use ‘click here’ instead try to incorporate the link into a sentence to give context. If you need to add the full address include the title of the web page.
Why? Descriptive web links make it clear where the link will take the reader.
The use of visuals can be effective to explain concepts by providing additional ways of representing materials to suit different learners. Including visuals on slides can also breakup blocks of text improving layout. Alternative text should be added to images that are not purely decorative. Any image that represent some form of information such as pictures, charts and diagrams should contain a descriptive text alternative. This is especially important if the visual is not summarised elsewhere on the slide.
Why? Visual elements on slides add another means of representing content.
How? Find out how to add alternative text to a shape, picture, chart, SmartArt graphic, in Microsoft Office.
Use the accessibility checker
The inbuilt Accessibility Checker inbuilt in PowerPoint will check for the above potential issues in your PowerPoints before you upload them to the VLE. The checker can help identify potential missing features including missing alternative text on images. The checker can also assist in tasks such as clarify the reading order of any diagrams within your presentation while you work.
Why? Doing a check before uploading your presentation will flag potential issues. The checker will help ensure that your presentations are perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
How? Use the Accessibility Checker for accessible PowerPoint presentations. The Accessibility Checker online can help you identify most issues although some features will need the desktop version.