When you are creating a presentation, it is important to keep accessibility in mind. We have written a few tips and found some useful resources that you can use to ensure your presentation is as accessible as possible for all members of your audience.
When you are delivering your presentation it is important that all members of the audience understand the points you are making. Simple steps such as speaking slowly and clearly, describing any content on the slides, and arranging the room to ensure everyone has good access can help to accommodate a range of needs. It is useful to consider a range of characteristics ahead of your presentation, and check you have planned a delivery that can accommodate a diverse audience.
Whether you are presenting online or in-person, the format of your presentation can make a huge difference to accessibility. Using sans serif fonts (like Calibri, Verdana, Arial) and dark coloured text on light (not white) single-coloured backgrounds is helpful for any dyslexic viewers you may be speaking to. If you are creating a PowerPoint, you can use Microsoft’s Accessibility Checker feature to make sure your presentation is in a clear format and readable structure for your audience.
Live Captions and Transcripts
Enabling captions on your presentation will improve accessibility for audience members who are hard of hearing.
If you are presenting online through Zoom, it is straightforward to set up subtitles following Zoom’s step-by-step guidance. You will have two options, automated captions (live transcription) or manual captions. The automated captions work well but are subject to a few errors, and can get confused when multiple people are speaking. Therefore you may opt for manual captions, in which case you will need to elect somebody to type live notes throughout your presentation.
You might want to save a transcript of the captions, so that audience members can read through later at their own pace. If you choose to do so, you will need to turn on Save Captions in your Zoom settings in advance of the meeting. At the end of your meeting, at the bottom of the transcript window, click Save Transcript and a copy of the transcript will be downloaded as a text file to your device. Please note that any in-person participants (i.e. using the same microphone) will not be named separately in the transcript – they will all appear under the host’s account/username.
If you are presenting in-person, you can set up your PowerPoint to create live subtitles during your presentation. Please note that this feature requires Windows 10 or higher, and a microphone, in order to function.
Read Microsoft’s guidance on using the PowerPoint subtitle feature here.
Adding translated captions to your presentation will open participation to audience members from around the world. This feature is available on a multitude of platforms, and is simple to set up whether you are presenting in-person or online.
Zoom has a live language interpretation function, where you can assign an interpreter (or several) to scribe live translated captions during the presentation.
If you are presenting using PowerPoint you can enable live automatic translations during your presentation. Please note that this feature requires Windows 10 or higher, and a microphone.
Microsoft Teams have a translation function which translates any slides being shared by the presenter. This does not affect the view of the slides seen by any other users, but please note that it can disrupt the formatting so you are advised to leave empty space around text to avoid any words being obscured.