Each month I will be responding to a question; chosen from a pool of some of
the most commonly asked ones that I have been asked over the years and
continue to be asked.
This month, I’d like to answer the following question:
How to make presentations and lectures more accessible?
For the most part, presentations and lectures are filled with slides and
foils. These slides and foils are more often than not populated with
graphics and icons and presenters use power point to develop their content.
These are given factors and you may think that for a blind person this type
of environment may be a bit difficult to overcome.
Not really though; there are ways for you to overcome this type of
environment. I’ll give you some secrets and you can then use these to
develop your own strategies.
First off, you could distribute your power point electronically to your
audience before hand. A blind person can certainly read your power point
presentations with their screen reading and screen magnification software.
By doing this, you give your blind participants an opportunity to know what
you are going to talk about before you give your presentation.
Second, you can describe graphics and icons to your audience as you go along
in your presentation. This would not only benefit blind audience members
but everyone in general. Each time you point to something on your charts or
on your screen, remember to describe it orally.
Third, all documents that you hand out can also be read by blind
participants electronically as long as they are in textual formats. So for
example, you can provide documents in such formats as word, RTF, TXT,
HTML/HTM, or in MHT. If your documents are in either PDF or power point,
then you may want to ensure that the content has been appropriately tagged
with accessibility features. This is not a very difficult thing to do.
What we are seeing these days is that more software is being made available
to enable you to convert your graphical presentations into accessible
formats so that everyone can benefit. So you see, things are becoming much