Creating Accessible Content with Adobe Presenter
Alistair Lee, Adobe Systems
Expertise Level: Intermediate
OverviewCreating presentations that are accessible to everyone is an important issue for content developers. Because Adobe Presenter presentations are authored in Microsoft PowerPoint, it is necessary that the PowerPoint presentation itself be accessible. In this way, accessibility should be considered at the very start of working on a presentation.
You might wonder why it's necessary to make your PowerPoint presentations accessible? First off, its the right thing to do. A wider audience can be reached when your PowerPoint presentations are made accessible. In some cases, if you work in government or education, your presentations are required by law to be accessible. Its not really all that hard to build effective and accessible PowerPoints. This demonstration will show you the four easy steps needed to create accessible PowerPoint presentations with Adobe Presenter.
Steps to create accessible PowerPoint presentationsBecause PowerPoint presentations often contain graphics and animation, it is important to create a document that makes all visual elements available and accessible to disabled users. For example, when a visually impaired user employs a screen reader to access the contents of an online presentation, it is necessary to give all graphics and animations the proper text equivalents to describe their function. Here are a few key steps that will help you to begin creating accessible PowerPoint presentation: Add text equivalents to all images Limit use of animations and transitions Ensure that any animations that are used remain accessible Using the Notes panel, add text transcripts of audio tracks
Add Text Equivalents to ImagesFor images or objects (e.g., charts) used in your presentation, add text equivalents (alt text) using the steps below.
For PowerPoint 2003 and earlier:
For PowerPoint 2007:
Limit Animations and TransitionsAccessible presentations should limit transitions whenever possible. When a PowerPoint presentation is converted into a Presenter presentation, transitions force the user to press the Play button to advance through each transition. This can result in a time-consuming and tedious experience for screen reader users. Consider the example of a slide containing bullet points which fly in from the right: as each bullet transitions onto the screen, a screen reader will return to the top of the page and recommence reading the pages contents from the beginning. To advance to the next bullet, the user will need to press the Play button. This can create a frustrating experience for the screen reader user. While it may be acceptable to occasionally use transitions, they should not be used on every slide. Limiting the use of transitions and animation to one per slide will help to improve the usability of your presentation for screen reader users.
Create Accessible AnimationsFlash animations can be a very effect way to illustrate ideas, concepts and practical applications. However, animations used in your PowerPoint presentations must be made accessible. The best way to do this is to follow the recommendations for Adobe Flash authoring at the Adobe Accessibility Resource Center. In addition, you should carefully consider your use of decorative animations. Constant motion on the screen may cause a screen reader to refresh frequently, thus making the presentation more difficult to use. Keeping animations to a minimum or eliminating them altogether will increase the accessibility of your content.