In a classroom setting, you should always describe any images that are meant to convey content (i.e. those that are not decorative), and ensure that you reference aloud any important information that is on the slide or in the presentation. If you are providing printed handouts, best practices include preparing them in alternate formats, for example with:
- Large font size
- Heading Styles or a structured heading/titles format
- Properly bulleted/numbered lists
- Brief written descriptions provided beneath the image and/or
- Electronic versions of handouts in HTML (if possible) with Alt Text applied to images
It is also a strong recommendation and best practice for accessibility to make lecture slides, presentations and/or handouts available before class, so that students have the opportunity to adequately prepare for lectures.
Presentation tools (such as PowerPoint or Google Slides) used for lecture and student presentation are invaluable parts of most instructors’ technological tool kits. However, they can present barriers to students with disabilities if they are not approached with accessibility in mind.
In an online context, steps can be taken to optimize PowerPoint and Google Slides presentations to make them accessible to all students, regardless of ability.
Within PowerPoint, there are several ways of enhancing the accessibility of a presentation including adding alternate text to images, using slide layouts to arrange content in a logical order and the ability to export to HTML (a screen-readable format).
WebAIM gives a useful overview of how to use PowerPoint’s accessibility features. McMaster’s Faculty of Social Sciences have also put together several intuitive and accessible resources on building accessible presentations with a focus on PowerPoint.
Google Slides is a Google Suite application that is housed within your Gmail Apps, which is becoming increasingly popular for presentations within a variety of contexts. This software is free and interactive but poses accessibility barriers similar to those of Microsoft PowerPoint. For more information, see How to Create an Accessible Google Slide Deck from Accessibility U .
In addition to information on creating accessible content, Google Support has further instructions on how to navigate Google Slides for people who use screen-readers. Please see Google Slides.