- advancing access for everyone
screen icon

S5 — Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System

Eric Meyer’s S5 (Simple Standards-Based Slide Show System) is a slide show format designed for the creation and display of simple web-based presentations that can be viewed on virtually any browser. The format is based entirely on XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript, which all use a simple, semantic, and completely accessible markup language.

Accessibility Barriers

  • Components of a S5 presentation such as titles, sub-titles, and images may be inaccessible to screen reader users unless information about each component is embedded in the presentation.
  • Titles and sub-titles created by simply centering, adding bold text, and increasing the font size of the text will not be not accessible to screen reader users.
  • A full understanding of an S5 presentation may be diminished if accompanying "handout" materials are not accessible.
  • The identification, description, or conveying of information conveyed by an image will be inaccessible to screen reader users when alternative text is not included.
  • The grouping or conveying of information through the use of color alone may be difficult or impossible to access for individuals who are color-blind, screen-reader users, individuals with low-vision, and users of devices that do not support the displaying of color.
  • The readability of text against a background may vary greatly when the page is viewed at different color depths, screen resolutions, or other display color combinations.
  • Detailed or "busy" page backgrounds or watermarks may make it difficult or impossible for users to discern overlying text, particularly users with low vision.
  • Screen reader users and some users of screen magnification applications will not be able to access information presented as a graphical background or wallpaper.

Best Practices


  • Use the simple format template provided by S5 to maintain appropriate structural elements such as headers, body, and footers.
  • If applicable, provide an accessible version of content contained within the handouts section.


  • Insert images, charts, and other objects using proper XHTML markup.
  • Include alternative text for all images.
  • Include extended descriptions for charts and complex images intended to convey information.


  • Use sans-serif fonts.
  • Use appropriate punctuation at the end of each bullet point.
  • Use a color scheme that presents a sharp contrast between text and background.