Host Accessible Events & Presentations

Planning an Accessible Event at UNH - A Guide

Presentations are used very commonly within both courses and higher education more generally. There are lectures, guest presenters, recorded presentations, and a range of other presentations. It is important to consider accessibility on a few different levels.  

Man stands on front of stage presenting
  1. Accessible Slides – Slides are commonly used to provide visual and audio information during a presentation.  They provide structure and a way to present multiple types of content. When creating slides, it is important to consider accessibility. This is true when just presenting slides, as well as when slides are being distributed.   
  2. Accessible Presentations – Accessibility extends past the slides alone. Creating an accessible presentation also involves consideration of how the slides are being presented.  
  3. Accessible Events – Many presentations are part of larger events or programming. It is equally important to think about the larger context of the presentation. EVENT GUIDE 

It is also important to consider whether the presentation will be in-person, virtual, or hybrid.  For many people with disabilities, the move to virtual platforms was very beneficial. It allowed for a wider range of participation and helped a great number of people.   However, accessibility still needs to be carefully considered when using virtual platforms. Not all platforms have the same accessibility features, and as with other contexts, a presentation is only as accessible as you make it.  

Opportunities and Challenges 

Accessibility opportunities  

  • Slides provide helpful visual information for people in the presentation.  
  • Slides can provide an effective structure for the presentation.   
  • Slides can be provided in advance of a presentation to help people prepare and review content in advance.  
  • Presentations can show multiple representations of content.  
  • Presentations can provide auditory descriptions of visual content.  
  • Presentations can provide opportunities for participant engagement.  
  • As appropriate, presentations can provide a virtual attendance option.  

Accessibility challenges 

  • Presentations are often reliant on auditory information.  
  • Presenters need to carefully consider the quality of audio and visual content.  
  • Presentation locations need to be accessible.  

Learn More about Accessible Presentation 

Accessible Presentation Suggestions

  • Implement the accessibility essentials  
    • Accessible headings – Ensure each slide has an appropriate heading (should be included when using slide templates). 
    • Alternative text – Always ensure that images either have appropriate alt-text or are marked as decorative.  
    • Color contrast – Consider how color is used throughout the site not only for design purposes, but also in terms of how color is used to convey meaning.  
    • Descriptive links – Ensure all links are descriptive and, if possible, indicate an action.   
    • Accessible tables and charts – Simplify tables and charts, and when using ensure tables and charts are accessible in terms of format and color.  
    • Captions and transcripts - All videos used should have captions, and when showing the video, the captions should be turned on.  
    • Clear language – It is important to use clear language, but also simplify the amount of content on slides.   
  • Carefully consider the presentation context
    • Ensure the text is readable from the back of the room.  
    • Increase contrast in brighter rooms.  
  • Formatting slides  
    • Use built-in slide templates.  
    • Provide unique titles for each slide.  
    • Minimize the amount of content on each slide.  
    • Minimize the overall number of slides.  
    • Left justify text.  
    • Provide vertical space between lines  
    • Avoid serif fonts  
  • Check the reading order for each slide.  
  • Avoid image only presentations. Should include some written text.  
  • Minimize the use of animations, but if using,  
    • Avoid blinking and flashing images.  
    • Ensure content does not disappear quickly.  
  • Use the Accessibility Checker prior to distributing or presenting content.  

  • When presenting in-person:
    • Consider whether CART and/or interpreters are needed for effective access.  
    • Check the room set up and audio-visuals prior to the presentation  
    • Wear a microphone.  
    • Display the full screen slides as opposed to presenting the edit view.  
    • As needed read slide text and describe images.  
    • Consider communication access supports prior to beginning.  
  • When presenting virtually:
    • Check audio and visuals prior to the presentation.  
    • Always ensure captions are turned on or can be turned on during a presentation. 
    • Consider using a hand raise feature for participation.  
  • Reiterate questions from the audience.  
  • Use appropriate wait-time when asking questions.  
  • Always turn on captions when playing videos.  
  • When visual content is important for meaning, provide an audio description of the content. 
  • If a hybrid meeting, consider the Virtual Platform Suggestions 

  • Choose a virtual platform that is accessible or can be made accessible 
  • Support attendees in connecting  
    • Provide guidance for how to connect 
    • Allow people to connect early 
    • Encourage participants to test their connections prior to the event 
  • Discuss expectations for participation (muting microphones, asking questions, using the chat feature, etc.) 
  • Identify an accessibility contact for any accessibility issues 
  • Share accessible presentation materials ahead of time. 
  • Platforms should include multiple ways of connecting (phone, internet, etc.) 
  • Platforms should be cost free unless covered under a specific event fee   
  • If CART providers are not present or needed, automatic transcription is enabled.  Zoom and Microsoft Teams offer a live transcription service that allows participants to see automatically generated captions of spoken audio in real time during a meeting or webinar.  
  • Consider how CART providers may display live captions to all participants