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Events and Presentations

Public events and public presentations often draw large audiences, either during the event itself or after when it is shared or posted publicly. Keep inclusivity in mind when delivering a presentation or sharing it after the fact. Plan to provide the presentation in a variety of formats, so it is accessible for a broad audience.

General Tips for Presentations

Accessible PowerPoint Slides

  • Use the State of Vermont or Department templates that are formatted with accessibility features. This helps to limit what you need to change to be more accessible.
  • Designing your slides for people with dyslexia generally makes them better for everyone. Get design guidance in this video.
    • Don’t use animations and slide transitions. They are visually distracting and are not considered accessible.
    • Limit the text on the slide and have plenty of space around the text.
    • Use sans serif fonts and avoid italics, all caps or underlining for emphasis.
    • Use pictures to emphasize the text.
    • Give every slide a unique title. 
  • Use accessible colors and check your color contrast. Don’t use color as the only way to communicate information. Get more information in the color section.
  • Add alternative text to images, charts, and any visuals. Find out how to improve image accessibility. Review this 6-part video tutorial for how to create accessible PowerPoint presentations. 
  • Use the Accessibility Checker in PowerPoint.
  • Verify the reading order of the elements on your slides. When you verify the reading order of your presentation, users who rely on assistive technology such as screen readers will receive the content in the order you intend. Learn how to adjust your reading order in this video.
  • Add notes/captions to your slides. These will function similarly to alt text on an image and should provide a detailed description of the slide content, including written and visual elements.
  • Distribute your slides to attendees before the presentation, if possible. Learn to save presentations in a different format so that you can convert a presentation into a handout.

Tips for Presenters

  • Use real-time captioning services: Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) works by having a human captioner use a computer to transcribe spoken dialogue into written sentences. CART allows you to host an event or meeting that’s accessible to people who have a hearing loss. Live captioning, or manually created captions are significantly more accurate than automated captions and should be used whenever possible because these captions allow participants to read what’s being said in real time. 
    • Here’s a video that explains how CART works.
    • If you need to access CART services, White Coat Captioning is a live captioning company that specializes in providing remote and onsite captioning services for conferences, classes, and special events. 
    • NCRA Sourcebook provides a list of CART services that offer both remote and onsite captioning.
  • Use a vendor to provide translation services: The Department of Buildings and General Services, Office of Purchasing and Contracting, maintains translation services contracts with vendors who can provide ASL videos, ASL interpretations, and/or ASL translations. 
  • Spotlight the interpreter in Teams: Learn how to use the Spotlight feature in Microsoft Teams and ask the audience members to keep their videos off when they are not speaking or interpreting to reduce interruptions to the video that is spotlighted. 
  • PowerPoint Live: Learn how to present inclusively using the PowerPoint Live feature in Teams. This allows your attendees to adjust the slides to better meet their needs.
  • Physical descriptions: Take the time to provide a physical description of yourself, your surroundings, and a visual description of each slide you share. If you are presenting with a group and are not the first to speak, be sure to provide a physical description of yourself and your surroundings when it is your turn. This helps audience members who may have a visual impairment and makes sure that everyone can receive the same information. 
  • Identify yourself: During a question-and-answer session, when responding to questions be sure to identify yourself so audience members who may have a visual impairment know who is providing an answer.
  • Pace of Speech: Speak at a more deliberate and controlled pace. This adjustment is crucial for individuals relying on interpreters or captioners. Slowing down the pace enables the people relying on interpreters or captioners to shift their attention between the demonstration and the interpreters or captions without missing vital information.
  • Cursor visibility: Enlarge the cursor size and change its color. This adjustment helps the audience locate and understand the presenter's demonstrations more easily, particularly for those with visual challenges.
  • When giving a presentation, try to eliminate or minimize background noise. 
  • If the presentation is in-person, consider reserving front-row seats for Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing, and Deafblind participants to improve visibility during events or meetings.
  • For a statewide press conference and when other vital information is presented to the public, have ASL interpretations available.
  • Microsoft Teams Accessibility Webinar: Learn about using Teams with sign language interpreters, captions and more. 
  • How to Make Virtual Meetings Accessible: This document provides a fundamental understanding of how to ensure your virtual meetings are accessible for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing and DeafBlind participants.

Tips for Planning an Accessible Event

  • When promoting an event, include a way for people to request accessible accommodations. Here's an example of language you could use:
    • For accessibility requests, please contact:
      Name, Title 
      Agency/Department, 802-000-0000
    • Make sure to list an actual person in this accommodations request notice instead of listing a general email address or office name. 
  • If people need to register for your event ahead of time, include a field in your registration form where attendees can indicate if they require specific accommodations. This helps you prepare in advance.
  • When sending out meeting announcements, include the date that you need the accommodation requests. Give yourself at least a week to process requests. Visit the Agency of Human Services Inclusion & Accessibility SharePoint Site to find out more about offering accommodations. 
    • Note: This site is available to State of Vermont Employees. Employees may be prompted to request access.
  • Share information about the event meeting space, topics, and agenda ahead of time with participants so they can familiarize themselves with the content.
  • Use the Vancro Interpreting Booking Desk Aid for a guide on booking American Sign Language - ASL interpreters. 
  • Educate speakers and presenters about the importance of clear speech, facing the camera, and allowing time for interpreters to convey the message. Interpreters have to switch with their team every 15-20 minutes. Captioners work alone. Bio breaks might be needed.
  • Gather feedback from participants about the accessibility of the event and any suggestions for improvement. Learn from each event and implement improvements based on feedback to enhance accessibility for future events.