Creating Accessible and Interactive Online Presentations

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Accessible Online Presentations Guidelines, 2020 DLF Forum

One of DLF’s strengths is that its membership & Forums are inclusive sites for exchange. Our members participate in a variety of cultural and disciplinary communities and bring with them to the Forum many different professional and personal experiences and learning styles. To help you effectively engage with this diverse and dynamic community, we offer these practical recommendations for creating accessible online presentations.

Delivering Presentations

Language and Respect

  • Respectfully acknowledge those who make your work possible—whether you’re talking about research participants, IT support, student employee labor, or the ancestral inhabitants of the ground you stand on. Recognize that the audience has knowledge to contribute.
  • Give an overview of what will happen and what you’re about to present, making note of sensitive content or language as appropriate.
  • Do not assume all cultural touchpoints or references are universal. Give context to the audience.
    • Minimize the use of jargon and acronyms, or clearly explain them in your talk.
    • Make sure you share information (spelling, pronunciation) about jargon to the live captioner or the person producing the closed captioning to ensure accuracy.
  • Adhere to the code of conduct for respectful and inclusive communication and interaction.
  • If you’re not actively presenting or speaking, mute your video and mic.
  • Make presentation materials available in advance so that participants using assistive technology can follow along on their own devices. We encourage use of DLF’s dedicated repository for Forum presentations.
    • Provide a textual version of presentations either in slide notes or in a document accompanying slide decks.
  • When making materials available to others, the PPT file format is preferred over PDF. PowerPoint templates are designed to be more compatible for screen readers and other assistive technology. If you are able to produce an accessible, tagged, and properly formatted PDF that is readable to assistive technology, that is also acceptable.

Presenter Audio and Video

  • DLF will be using captioned videos for pre-recorded sessions. [insert link to instructions]
  • Use an external mic or a headset mic to ensure the best possible audio quality. Don’t move away from your mic while speaking.
    • Reduce ambient noise in the room where you are presenting or recording by ways such as closing windows, turning off fans and silencing or putting your phone in airplane mode. Mute your mic if you are not speaking.
  • Speak clearly, loudly, and at a moderate rate. Use pauses to allow for processing time.
    • Provide clear verbal descriptions of visual content, such as images, charts, and videos. Imagine delivering your presentation on the radio.
  • Provide captioning in video clips.
  • If your camera will be on:
    • Make sure there is light directly on your face, and don’t sit with a window directly behind you (to avoid backlighting). You should be visible to the audience with a clear, low-distraction background.
    • Do not use visually complex or animated Zoom backgrounds which can be distracting or visually overwhelming.
    • Focus the camera on your face, so that your lips and expressions are visible even on a small screen.
    • Look directly into the camera while you are presenting.
  • If the presentation is live, pause early on to ensure that the audience can see/hear the presentation. “Check in” midway through the presentation to ensure that you are still being heard and seen. Make changes based on feedback.

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