Accessibility & Inclusion

8 Key Tips for Making Your PowerPoint Presentations Accessible for All

May 4, 2023 6 minute read
Make your slides speak to everyone! Learn how to craft PowerPoint presentations that are fully accessible and understand the power of communication without barriers.

Inclusivity is more important than ever when it comes to the way that organizations communicate both online and elsewhere. Making sure that everyone, including those with disabilities, can access and understand your message is a crucial aspect of an effective communication strategy for any modern organization.

In this blog post, we'll dive into some practical tips for creating inclusive PowerPoint presentations that promote inclusivity across all your communication materials.

Let's get started!

PowerPoint accessibility tips

PowerPoint presentations are widely employed in diverse settings, spanning from corporate boardrooms to academic lecture halls and beyond.

However, while they offer a compelling means of communicating complex ideas in a lucid, well-structured, and visually compelling manner, it is crucial not to overlook the need to ensure that these presentations are fully accessible to all individuals.

So, without any further ado, let’s dive into our top eight PowerPoint accessibility tips.

1. Use proper slide structure

One of the first steps in creating an accessible PowerPoint presentation is to use proper slide structure. This means using slide titles, headings, and subheadings to create a clear outline of your presentation.

This allows those using screen readers and other accessibility tools to navigate through the slides more easily. Put simply, by organizing your content with a logical and hierarchical structure, you make it easier for people with visual impairments to understand the flow and organization of your presentation.

2. Use meaningful alt text for images

Images are often used in PowerPoint presentations to convey information. However, for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, these images may not be accessible. To make your images accessible, be sure to add meaningful alt text to describe the content of the image. Alt text should be concise, descriptive, and convey the information that the image is intended to convey. This allows individuals using screen readers to understand the content of the image and ensures that your presentation is inclusive for all audiences.

3. Choose accessible fonts and colors

They may seem like a trivial detail, but fonts and colors play a crucial role in making your PowerPoint presentation accessible for all. Use fonts that are easy to read, such as sans-serif fonts like Arial or Calibri and avoid using decorative fonts that may be more difficult to read. Additionally, choose color combinations with sufficient contrast to ensure that text is readable for people with visual impairments. You should also avoid relying solely on color to convey important information, as this will be lost on those with color blindness. By using accessible fonts and colors, you can effectively ensure that your presentation can be easily read and understood by individuals with different visual abilities.

4. Provide transcripts and captions for multimedia

Multimedia elements, such as videos or audio clips, are commonly used in PowerPoint presentations to enhance the content. However, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may face barriers in accessing this content. To make your multimedia elements accessible, you should provide transcripts and captions. Transcripts are written descriptions of the content in videos or audio clips, and captions are text-based representations of the spoken words in a video or audio clip. Providing transcripts and captions ensures that individuals with hearing impairments can access the information conveyed in your multimedia elements, making your presentation more inclusive.

5. Use simple language and avoid jargon

Using plain language and avoiding technical jargon is essential in creating an inclusive PowerPoint presentation. Plain language makes your content more understandable to a wider audience, including individuals with cognitive disabilities or language barriers. Avoid using complex terminologies or jargon that may be difficult for some individuals to understand. Instead, use simple and clear language to convey your message effectively and ensure that your presentation is accessible to all individuals.

6. Use accessible slide layouts

Slide layouts play a significant role in the accessibility of your PowerPoint presentation. Choose slide layouts that are designed for accessibility, such as those with clear headings, ample white space, and logical flow. Avoid overcrowded slides with too much information, as this can become overwhelming for individuals with cognitive disabilities or visual impairments. In summary, well-designed slide layouts with proper spacing and clear headings can improve the readability and accessibility of your PowerPoint presentations.

7. Test accessibility

Testing the accessibility of your PowerPoint presentation is crucial to ensuring that it is truly inclusive. PowerPoint has a built-in Accessibility Checker that can identify potential accessibility issues in your slides. This feature can be used to check for issues such as missing alt text for images, improper use of slide structure, insufficient color contrast, and other accessibility concerns. Make necessary adjustments based on the Accessibility Checker's feedback to ensure that your presentation meets accessibility standards.In addition to using the Accessibility Checker, it's also important to test your presentation with screen readers and other assistive technologies. This will help you identify any potential barriers that may hinder individuals with disabilities from accessing and understanding the content of your presentation. By testing your presentation with various accessibility tools, you can make necessary modifications to ensure that it is accessible to all individuals, regardless of their abilities.

8. Provide alternative formats

Offering alternative formats of your PowerPoint presentation can further enhance its accessibility. Consider providing PDF or HTML versions of your presentation, in addition to the PowerPoint file. This allows individuals who may have difficulty accessing PowerPoint files or using PowerPoint software to still access and benefit from your presentation. Providing alternative formats ensures that your presentation is accessible to a wider audience and promotes inclusivity in your communication materials.

Get your message across to everyone

In summary, creating accessible PowerPoint presentations is a crucial aspect of an inclusive communication strategy for any modern organization. By using proper slide structure, meaningful alt text for images, accessible fonts and colors, transcripts and captions for multimedia, simple language, accessible slide layouts, testing accessibility, and providing alternative formats, you can ensure that your presentation is accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities. By taking these key steps, you are effectively promoting inclusivity and diversity in your communication materials and ensuring that your message is accessible to everyone.

Keep Reading

View More Resources