Webinar for Creating Accessible and Interactive Presentations
Hi everybody, my name is Debbie Krahmer. I'm the accessible technology and government documents librarian at Colgate University in the United States. I prefer that you not use gendered pronouns when you refer to me; you can call me Debbie or D.
Today I'm here on behalf of CLIR's Digital Library Federation Committee on Equity and Inclusion subgroup for Inclusivity at the forum--DLF forum, to talk to you about creating, creating accessible and interactive online presentations. I want to acknowledge that I am speaking to you from the unceded and traditional lands of the Oneida people.
This presentation is based on past work by Eleanor Dickson Koehl, Chelchie Juliet Rowell, Yasmeen L. Shorish, and Carli Spina, who created the original guidelines and workshop in 2016 and 2017. It was updated for 2020 by me, Debbie Krahmer, Lydia Tang, Sarah Goldstein, Stephanie Rosen, Alex Wermer-Colan and Amy Vecchione.
During this presentation, I will be using the terms disabled or non-disabled as well as a lot of identity first language. And I acknowledge that there is a difference in the ways that disability is described and discussed, as it pertains to person-first, such as "a person with a disability," versus identity-first, or "disabled person," language. And it's important that it be acknowledged that society plays a heavy role in disabling people, while also avoiding the implication that disability is something that is inherently negative. However, it is important to listen to disabled people when deciding which is appropriate to use in individual contexts.
I'd also like to take a moment to remind the viewers that we ask you to adhere to the DLF Code of Conduct when interacting with this presentation and asking questions.
Obviously, we can't cover every possible topic in a single presentation. Questions can be directed to the DLF team at email@example.com or f o r u m @ d i g I i b dot o r g. And all materials that are using this presentation as well as the guidelines and other things that might be relevant to you will be available at the DLF wiki. Wiki.diglib.org or w i k i dot d i g l i b dot o r g.
The purpose of this presentation is to give you some concrete examples and guidance on creating an accessible online presentation, as well as some hints on creating an interactive online presentation. Much of this presentation is going to focus on demonstration with Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides. Some of the things that I'm going to cover is just general good practice for doing presentations, but the overall focus is going to be on making a presentation accessible. This presentation should be used in combination with the more comprehensive guidelines and resources available on the DLF wiki, which is again at wiki.diglib.org or w i k i dot d i g l i b dot o r g, or you can also go directly to the short URL of h t t p s : // b i t . l y / 2 Z J 8 G Q Y.
I want to be clear that "accessible" does not have to equal "boring." You can be creative and exciting and interactive, AND keep your work accessible. However, there's a lot of moving pieces and knowledge that is needed to be a really creative, interactive speaker. It's usually lots of practice and a lot of training before you're an expert speaker. For example, you're not going to be a TED talk expert by following a single video that gives you the top 10 simple rules to being a TED talk speaker. Any more than, you know, my interest in reading sci fi and my interest in astronomy is going to make me an astronaut. There is only so much information that can be conveyed in a one hour presentation, as you know, and accessibility is a topic that isn't any different from that.
Accessibility, design, public speaking: all of these things combine into very nuanced areas of knowledge. So I want you to think about these as guidelines, and helpful hints, or top 10 simple rules or whatever is going to help you. But you should really focus, you should really forgive yourself for getting things wrong, because you will. I do! You didn't just wake up one day with all the knowledge of a librarian, you had to go to school, you had to continue working, and every single day you're learning and you're expanding your knowledge as a librarian. So this is going to be the exact same thing. So try hard, but forgive your mistakes. You're not going to be an accessibility master by the end of this, but hopefully you'll have some more information and more tools that'll hopefully make this a lot less intimidating.
I'd like to start out by covering some basic information about delivering a presentation online. Clear audio is super important. As you can see, I'm using a headset with a microphone. No matter what, you should always make sure that you're going to have a microphone. It ensures that you have the best audio quality, it helps making transcripts and closed captioning much easier. And, for in person events, it ensures that everybody is going to be able to hear you.
You want to reduce any kind of area noise. In this room, I went ahead and turned off my air purifier. I closed the windows because there's a lot of construction going on outside, to just kind of remove some of that extra noise. This is also where having a headset with a microphone can come in because it blocks off a lot of the extra noise that might be happening in the room.
And also while speaking, you want to use kind of a clear steady voice. You don't want to over enunciate but you also don't want to under enunciate. Try to--Try to think of yourself as like a news anchor, you know, you're, you're, you're calmly reporting information to the people. Or maybe you're just having a chat with some friends, something friendly, just not something where you're going to be talking really fast and everything's going to get run together. You want to be able to take your time. And you don't want to try to rush through what you're trying to say.
Another example, when you're speaking, especially in an online format, is if you're going to use acronyms, you should go ahead and read them out loud so that they're going to be clear. So for example, I could have introduced myself as "Hi, I'm Debbie Krahmer. I'm a member of the Eastern New York Chapter of the ACRL." Or I could have said, "Hi, I'm Debbie Krahmer. I'm a member of ENY/ACRL ["eenie-akrle"]. And if I just said "eenie-akrle" to you, it probably wouldn't mean anything. It helps to say okay, so this is what the acronym stands for: the Eastern New York Chapter of the ACRL, as well as how is it's spelled E N Y slash A C R L. And then, of course, how it's pronounced "eenie-akrle." You might need to practice this a little bit to try to figure out how is going to work the best in your speaking. But this is just to ensure that your captioning is going to be correct. It's going to ensure that people who are watching this are going to know exactly what you're talking about. And if you're doing something live, you also want to make sure that that information is available to your live captioner.
This is the same way with using any kind of jargon. Most of the time you want to avoid jargon or try to define your jargon. Sometimes it doesn't quite work because you--your presentation might be to a very specialised audience, who you automatically assume will know the jargon but one of the issues you're going to run into is your live captioner may not know what the jargon is or how to spell it. And or--the person who's going to be doing your closed captioning might not know. So it is good to also have all of those things kind of written down and available, so that your live captioner or the closed captioning person are going to be able to get things correct for, for your speakers.
Now, if you're going to have your camera on during your presentation like I am, there are a few things you can do. You want to make sure that you have your face kind of centred within the screen. You want to make sure that you're not backlit so if there's a window in the room, make sure the window is in front of you or off to the side. This way, if you are backlit, it makes it really hard to for anybody to see your face, to try to read your lips, to, to read your expressions as you're doing your presentation.
If you're going to have your video on throughout the presentation, especially if you're doing something that's pre-recorded, you can set it up so that your display is side by side. Or you can also design your slides so that there's a small space on your slide where you're not going to have any important information. So this particular presentation was designed with the upper right hand corner open, so that that's where the little, the little speaker view can be seen.
Now let's move into the design portion of this presentation. We are going to ask you to make your presentation materials available prior to the actual presentation time, including the slide deck in a PowerPoint or Google Slides format instead of a PDF. This is because a PowerPoint format includes many types of things that make it much more accessible to screen readers or to other assistive technologies. A PDF you have to do a lot of behind the scenes work on the actual PDF to make sure that is fully accessible. If you'd like to save a PDF and you already know how to make sure that your PDF is accessible, feel free to go ahead and do that. But we are encouraging everybody to make the PowerPoint, the original PowerPoint slides or the original Google Slides available to everybody.
So the most important part of what I'm about to tell you is that you should make sure that you're using the built in templates for creating your presentations. This is because the templates, the slide layouts, all of that kind of stuff that is built in into into PowerPoint into Google Slides, is already designed to work with assistive technology. So when you create your own slides, such as using a blank slide, and then drawing in your own text boxes, or putting in, putting an image on them without using the actual templates that support images or text, you're actually going to have to do a lot more work to the final PowerPoint slide to make it accessible.
This presentation, we're really not going to focus on how to do things the hard way, I'm going to focus on the easy. Additionally, using templates creates an automatic outline for your presentation. You can view this in the outline view.
Templates in PowerPoint and Google Slides also have a built in reading order for slides and other things that make them accessible. If you need to make a change, especially to your entire presentation, such as adding an extra text boxes, you can make those changes to the slide, in the master slide, and it'll push those changes to every other slide.
So if you want to make changes to your master slide, in PowerPoint, you just want to go up to view, Slide Master. So you can use this--you can insert extra, extra placeholders. You can choose different types of layouts, and you can see the examples of every single layout. So you can make edits to this And it will make the edits all the way through your entire presentation and always to this particular layout.
So for example, I can see on here, that the template that I'm using, which is the DLF, the official DLF template for the DLF 2020 forum. The text box on here, kind of overlaps our little image here. You don't want any text overlapping any background images or anything like that. So you can come in here and reset these boxes. And then you want to click on Close Master View. And so anytime you use those particular boxes, let me just add in a new slide, and I'm going to change the layout to here... You can see it automatically set them up so that they is no overlapping onto the slide. So you want to do that in the master slides so that every time you add in a new slide or you change the slide, it's going to be the exact same.
It'll also--because it's on the master slide, it will be included into your outline view. So when you want to take a look at your outline view, you can just go up to--in PowerPoint, you can go up to view and switch it from Normal to Outline view. So here you can see in the outline view how this entire presentation can be displayed nicely, showing you an update of everything that's going to be going on--an OVERVIEW of everything that's going to be going on as well as the individual pieces within it. This makes it much easier for people to be able to follow along, to know what's happening and what's going to be going on.
If you want to make changes to the master slide in Google Slides, go up to the top menu and select slide. And then scroll down to edit master. Just like with PowerPoint, you edit here, or you can add in extra text boxes or other things like that.
As you might have seen, in these previous examples, I've been using the template for the DLF 2020 forum. And you'll notice that within that template, every single slide has a little image as the background across the bottom, so this little image branding, it's really good because it automatically puts in a bit of a margin on your, on your presentation slides, so that you won't have any text laying over the background image, and so that the closed captioning--After your presentation is recorded and Closed captioning is put in, that also won't be covering up important parts of your presentation.
And right now I'd like to address the reading order of the slides. So by using the templates, as well as editing the master slide, the reading order of your slide is going to be kind of pre-determined at this point. And you can change this on a slide by slide basis. I suggest waiting until the very end of your presentation after you've gotten everything together to go through and just check how is the reading order, this would be the very last thing that you would do before you saved your PowerPoint and uploaded it to the DLF website.
So to check your reading order in PowerPoint, you want to go into the regular view, not the presentation view. You just want to click on a blank area of your, of your PowerPoint slide somewhere where there isn't like a text box or something else that you can click into--Clicking like this, and then when you hit the tab button, it highlights things. And so the first thing highlighted is going to be the very first thing read for the screen reader. And the second thing, and so on this particular slide, number one would be "delivering presentations" and the second one--typically how a screen reader would read this is "bulleted list, two items, item one speaker audio, item two speaker video." So keep this in mind as you're designing your slides: How is this going to read for a screen reader? You can also check the reading order by going into the arrange button on PC, which is what I'm using. The Arrange is underneath the Drawing button, and then go down to Arrange and you can do, do this to bring things forward and bring things back. If you're not very good at kind of mentally conceptualising how this works, works in 3d, you can go in and just make a change, and then check to see what tabs first, what tabs second. If you're using a Mac it's much easier, there's just an arrange button up here. And then it actually does this really cool 3d kind of design where it shows you in layers of how everything is set out on your particular slide.
So in Google Slides, if you want to check it, you want to again, make sure that you're in a blank area, and then tab through: One. Two. One. Two. Same difference. You can also go into the Arrange, order, send something backwards, send something front through the kind of imaginary 3d slides that you're going to be having things appearing.
So final note about structure. One of the things that I come across a lot as a web accessibility expert, as well as, as a screen reader user is the idea that nobody is going to pay any attention to your presentation or to your website if it's too predictable, or if it's too boring, you know. I often hear, you know, "Every slide should be set up in a creative and unique way, so that people are kept on the edge of their seats and they're interested and engaged." And frankly, that's it's just not true. First off, this is conference or an event that people want to attend, and they want to get some information out of this conference. You can do some kind of like "funky-cool" things and stuff like that. It's really great. But it's better to just communicate the information and it's a lot harder to make something that's kind of "funky-cool" kinda qua--kinda chaotic, trying to make that accessible.
Additionally, when you have a lot of these unpredictable elements, like maybe you have sideways text, or maybe you have a sudden animated GIF comes up or you know, different things sliding in from different areas on the, on the thing, you're making it harder for your audience to follow along. This unpredictability can be really costly in terms of cognitive processing, people are going to start getting frustrated, they're going to, you know, if they have any difficulties seeing or hearing what's happening, you know, maybe they're going to get anxious or whatever. It takes away from them being able to fully participate in a presentation, to completely engage with what you're saying and what you're trying to display. And you want to make it predictable that people are thinking about what you're saying, thinking about how your presentation goes together, and connecting that to their own thoughts, their own memories, their their own ideas, so that they can actually focus on learning and interacting with you as opposed to trying to figure out what's going to be happening next.
This is an example of some things that you don't want to do. Maybe some things are coming in at different times. What's going on? Where am I going? Ah! Suddenly now I'm all the way over here! What the heck's happening? What's going to happen next? I have no idea! What's!? Oh my goodness! Imagine every single slide, is like this. People are going to be much more--they're going to be entertained, true, but they're not going to be able to really focus on what you're saying, and what you're trying to get across.
One example I like using and I've used this quite often in the past is to, to ask people to kind of imagine you're in a physics lecture, and your professor has a single slide up, and the only thing that's on this slide is a picture of a giraffe just right up there on the screen. Meanwhile, your professor's standing in front of it. And they're talking about math and theories and Hawking radiation and black holes and all this really complicated stuff. When you're sitting there staring at this picture of a giraffe, now maybe you like giraffes, maybe you're entertained by the giraffe. But maybe you're just sitting there going, "Okay, so when is this giraffe going to come in and be really relevant to what the professor is talking about? Do giraffes, do they live in black holes? Why is this up here?" and part of your brain is going to be constantly thinking about, "Okay, so why this giaffe? Why is this up here?" As opposed to focusing on, "Okay, so this is the mathematics I need to know. And this is the terminology I need to know. And this is what I need in order to get through the class." So it's really hard to teach and it's really hard to learn when you have some of this cognitive dissonance going on.
So you have your basic design set up from the start, and you're using and selecting from the predefined templates or the DLF templates that you'll receive. The very first thing that you want to do in order to make sure that all of your slides are going to be accessible is also to make sure that you've set the language for your entire presentation. And you can do this right at the start, and it'll remember it through the entire thing. This is so that your screen reader, especially if you're somebody who, you're using PowerPoint in another language but you're going to be presenting in English, it's really good to let people know, "Okay, this is what the actual slideshow language is going to be."
So to check language on PowerPoint for PC, you just want to go over to the review tab. And you want to choose language from the language setting, and check language preferences. For example, it might say English, it might say Chinese. It might have however many languages that you have installed on your computer and you want to make sure that it's selected the correct match.
To set the language in Google Slides, you want to go up to File in the menu and scroll all the way down towards the bottom to where it says language, and then select the correct language for your particular presentation.
So after you've set the language, you want to make sure that all of your slides are using at least 28 point minimum font size, as well as use a sans serif font. This makes it much more readable to the maximum amount of people. But the other part of making sure that you have your PowerPoint file available to everybody before the presentation is that people can go in, and they can change the font size to whatever works for them, or change it to a different font type that works better for them.
So using structure, when you're, when you're creating a presentation is really effective. You can use bullets for it, especially if you want to keep things simple, to just have short little bullets as opposed to an entire screen that is filled up thickly with text. If you have too much text on the screen, people are going to be way too distracted trying to figure out what you're trying to say, or at least trying to read what's on the screen, as opposed to focusing on what you're actually saying. So try to think of your slide, especially bullet points on your slide, as just kind of like a little bit of an outline: enough to give people enough information, or to be able to see how complicated words or acronyms are spelled, and as well as just kind of giving them a touch point, but not something that's going to distract them from what they're supposed to be reading.
So when you're working on your slides, you want to make sure that you have a good contrast for colours. Usually white on black, black on white. Those tend to work the best for your presentation. One really great site to just quickly check to see are your are your colours going to be contrasting enough, you can go to contrastchecker.com, c o n t r a s t c h e c k e r dot com, to see how your colour contrast is going to be working.
So you can see the black text on a white background gives you a really good high contrast. And when you run it through something like the contrast checker, it'll give you a pass on every single level. However you, you can get creative, you can play around with it. And if you're using any of the templates that we made available for the DLF forum, you should use a black text or some kind of really dark text for that white background.
There's a couple of ways this can go wrong. You can have something that passes contrast checker and still be really awful. A really good way of demonstrating this is this particular slide. I've had a lot of people say, when I've shown them a slide similar to this, that it's seems easy to read at the beginning, but after a while of staring at it, their eyes really start to hurt. And I apologise for bringing this up here! Some colour combinations are really awful, for example, red and green together, or red and blue. These can make it really difficult to see. Red and green and blue all tend to be kind of really active colours and they seem to kind of like visually vibrate. So while this particular slide actually passes the contract contrast checker, it isn't very easy to read. It's really important to get across the fact that you can do contrast technically right, but also have it not work out in the end.
So when you're using URLs in your presentations, you typically want to have a short URL, as well as the descriptive text for the link. This is so that as a person is going going through your PowerPoint with a screen--with a screen reader, they can skip between the different links, and it won't be just an entire page of "click here, click here, click here, click here, click here." You want it to say "DLF 2020 Forum Homepage" or "DLF wiki," something a little bit more descriptive. When you're doing your presenting, you want to go ahead and just read it out loud. Don't ever try to put the URL on the screen and just say "You can see the URL there." Because maybe some people can see it, maybe they can't. It's also really helpful to try to read it out loud for everybody. For example, "wiki.diglib.org w i k i dot d i g l i b dot o r g."
Speaking of what people can or cannot see, it's really important to provide clear text alternatives to non textual images or video. Images have meaning. Otherwise, why would you go ahead and use them in your slides? So it's important to make it available to everybody. You can add in alt text. It's one of the easiest ways to do this with your, with your presentation.
So to change the alt text on your PowerPoint slide, simply click on the image, you want to right mouse click, and then in the menu, find the "edit alt text." And on this particular version of PowerPoint for PC, it kind of auto generates an alt description. You can also just change that. So in Google Slides, for putting in alt text, you want to make sure your image is selected. You want to right click on it and from the menu select alt text. So gives you a title and a description. You can usually copy paste and make it the exact same. Sometimes using AI, it'll give you a little bit of information. We could just put in "a giraffe," or "a tall giraffe standing on top of a dry grass field." So what makes good alt text? Try to think to yourself, what is this image and why is it here? Why, why did you use it on this particular slide? If it's just decorative, you might consider, you know, maybe there might be a better use for this particular slide space. Maybe it's important to tell people this is a picture of a giraffe standing on grass as opposed to this is a picture of a giraffe floating in front of a black hole. So we do have links to information on how to write good alt text. You can also find them by going to h t t p s : // b i t . l y / 3 i C x 5 P K. You can also find these links in the DLF wiki, the Guidelines for creating accessible and interactive online presentations, as well as in the original PowerPoint of this particular presentation.
Additionally, when you're presenting, it's really helpful to describe what's happening on the screen. If it's important enough to include in your presentation, you want to make sure everybody's getting the exact same information. To me as a disabled person, it can be really terrible to be in a webinar or workshop and have somebody put up a slide and maybe it's an image or joke or cartoon or something. And everything just goes quiet for a little bit. And then people laugh. And then maybe, you know, the speaker might chuckle a little bit and then they move on to the next slide. I've completely lost everything that's happened in that particular instance, what was up there? What is everybody laughing about? How does this relate to the rest of the presentation? It feels really terrible as a person in the audience to experience this. So you want to make sure that you're not leaving anybody out. If alt text doesn't really make sense for your presentation format, or for whatever reason, there are a few other things that you can do. You can include a caption underneath the image. There are slide layouts that allow you to have a text caption underneath an image or more of a description. You can also put in an image description into the notes of your slide. You can also include a link or a citation to where the actual data or the image information is at if it's really super complicated and it's really not going to fit into your presentation.
Finally, if you're going to be using video in your presentation, you want to make sure that the video clips that you're using are closed captioned. If it's not captioned in your presentation, you can also make sure that you have a transcript of the video available to the person who is doing the captioning or doing the live transcription if it's a live presentation, so that they can convey that through the closed captioning or the transcription. When you're when you're also using video, you can also think about including some kind of introductory description of the video, especially if the visual content is really important.
Finally, at the end of your presentation, after you've got everything together and you're ready to turn in your PowerPoint to the DLF, you want to make sure that you perform an accessibility check on your PowerPoint or your Google slide. So in PowerPoint, you just go up to File, Info and select Check for Issues and then Check Accessibility. Google Slides however, doesn't have a built in accessibility checker. There are a number of ones that you can download and install as add-ons such as Grackle Docs. You can find one that you really like, or a really easy one is to just download your Google Slide, your Google Slides as a PowerPoint file and open it up in PowerPoint, make sure it's displaying the way you want it to display and run it through the Accessibility Checker there.
So now that your presentation is much more accessible, and you have a few tools to get you through that and a few things to think about. Let's talk about how to be interactive while you're in a virtual format. It's important that you're designing your presentation for the format it's being delivered. A face to face live presentation is obviously going to be very different from a pre-recorded presentation with live discussion happening on Slack. So when you're preparing for an online pre-recorded presentation, make sure you include at the start some information about how you're going to interact with the audience, if you are, if you are able to, as well as especially how are questions going to be asked. Throughout this year's online conference, videos will premiere at their designated scheduled times and the attendees will begin watching them together, kind of like a Netflix viewing party. And then the chat will be disabled on these videos. And so any comments and questions can be posted in the Slack channel for that particular presentation. So you want to make it clear where and how the interactions going to be happening. You could also include audience participation sections in your pre-recorded session through presenting a question or saying, you know, "this is a journaling opportunity," and leave enough time in the recording to allow people to do it. For example, you can say during this presentation, "I will be presenting you a series of questions. With each question, I'll give you five minutes to think about your answer and write it in your own journal. If you do not have a pad of paper and a pencil with you, please take the next two minutes to locate one." And then include a two minute pause in your video. If you're talking about leaving people five minutes in order to journal about something, actually leave five minutes of writing time in your presentation. Since you're going to be doing this as pre-recorded video, you can have a little fun with it, you know, you can, you can move in and maybe have like a visual countdown, or your own countdown. Maybe you could just try to use some royalty free music, whatever you want to do, you can be, you can be creative, but give your audience a heads up of what you want them to do and how they're going to do it. And of course, always with any kind of presentations, especially for the DLF, you want to remind people of the code of conduct, and you want to make sure you're giving people a heads up for any kind of sensitive content. You can even feel free to try to set some ground rules at the start, if that's going to help you with your interactive process.
So thank you very much for your time and attention on this. If you have any questions about this presentation or how to make your presentation accessible, you can please contact the DLF team at firstname.lastname@example.org or f o r u m @ d i g l i b dot o r g. These materials are available online at the DLF wiki. Or you can go to the short URL of h t t p s : // b i t . l y / 2 Z J 8 G Q Y. Thank you very much for watching.