Speaker Guidelines

Live Captioning

During the Global Accessibility Awareness Day conference, sessions will have live captioning. In order to improve the quality of this service, we ask everyone to speak slowly and clearly so the captioning service is able to accurately capture what you say.             

Note: Do not use any built-in captioning options (such as Google Slides captioning or Microsoft Translator) while recording your presentation, as it will interfere with the automated captioning the conference will be using.                

Conference Platform Accessibility

We will use Zoom Events as the conference platform. In general, the platform is accessible, but the “lobby” chat has known accessibility issues.      

Accessibility Instructions for Presenters

All presenters should review these accessibility requirements and presentation logistics. Make note of the three action items for your talk(s).

Action 1: Send Slides and Handouts Early

Upload slides and other materials to the Global Accessibility Awareness Day presentation folder before the event. This way, attendees can access materials using their own technology, and the post-event video editors can reference them to improve final video quality.

Action 2: Design an Accessible Presentation

Please use the following guidelines to ensure that your presentations are visually accessible to attendees in an online environment. 

Basic Slide Design    

  • Use an easy-to-read font. Suggested fonts include: Helvetica and its clones (Arial, Calibri, etc.), Gill Sans, Comic Sans (seriously!), Verdana, Franklin Gothic, Rockwell, Tahoma, Lucida, and Times New Roman.
  • Try to minimize the amount of text on each slide. Use bullet points instead of full paragraphs. Limit your slides to 1 main idea and 3 supporting ideas per slide.
  • Aim for a font size of 20 to 30 point. Generally, do not go below 24-point for slide content.
  • Choose text and background colors that have good contrast and are easy to read, such as white/maroon, gold/black, off-white/black. Consider avoiding white/black, which may have too much contrast and causing screen glare. You can use a contrast checker to check for good contrast.    
  • Leave space at the bottom of the slides for the live captioning to appear (usually about ¼ the overall size of the slide). There should be no important text in this area.                         
  • If you will have your camera on during your slides, consider where it may appear on the screen relative to your slides. We recommend building space into your slides to prevent the video from blocking your content.                 
  • Use the Cultivate Inclusion template to produce an accessible slide presentation, which already incorporates all the above issues, including space for live captioning and the camera view.

Graphs and Charts                     

  • Use the built-in options for creating charts and graphs instead of using an image or screen capture, so that a person using assistive technology can access the data.
  • For color blindness considerations, add patterns or labels in graphs and charts, or use the Viz Palette Designer to select sight-friendly color palettes.

Images, Videos, and Animations

  • Avoid blinking text and animations that endlessly repeat.
  • If your presentation features lots of animations, videos, etc., please include a warning at the start of your talk. This is especially needed if any contain a lot of flicker.
  • Be mindful of progressing quickly back and forth through slides, to reduce flicker.
  • If a video contains sound or dialogue, please try to use a version with captioning.
  • Include alt text for all images in the slides you upload to the presentation folder. WebAIM has useful information about alt text and how to write it.
  • While presenting, describe any images, and give a descriptive introduction for a video.

Sharing Slides                     

  • Participants are encouraged to share their slides. Please include a short link to your presentation in your opening slides for attendees to view on their personal devices.                     
  • Include speaker notes with your files if the file format allows. In particular, describe any images, tables, charts, etc. in the notes.
  • It’s easier to make your original presentation slides accessible than it is to produce an accessible PDF of your slides. Please refer to PowerPoint and KeyNote accessibility advice, as well as Google Slides accessibility tips.    

Supplemental Materials                     

  • Use the built-in accessibility checker for any supplemental materials you want to include with your presentation.
  • When possible, do not use PDF. Make materials available in their original format (Word, txt, Excel, etc.) to ensure their accessibility.

More detailed information on creating accessible online presentations is available from the Digital Library Federation.

Action 3: Be Inclusive in Your Presentation

Follow the Community Agreement during any interaction with others at the conference. 

  • If your presentation is interactive, tell the audience at the start what you will be doing (“I will ask you to write down some thoughts multiple times during the presentation, so please get a pen and paper now,” or “I’ll give you 1 minute to fill out this poll”), and actually give them enough time to complete the work.
  • Presenters are encouraged to use an external unidirectional microphone or headset with mic. This will cut down on external noises (people talking, computer fan noises, etc.) and make it easier for live-captioning. Make sure the mic is directly in front of your mouth to ensure the best audio capture.
  • Please speak slowly and clearly, like a newscaster, to make it easier for the captionist and audience to understand you.
  • If you are answering questions from the chat, read the question out loud and credit the person asking it (unless you are taking anonymous questions) before responding.
  • If you are using acronyms or jargon, please state the full name, followed by the acronym spelling (for example, “American Broadcasting Company, ABC”) or definition the first time you reference it. You can also explain them in your speaker notes or on the slides of the presentation to make it clear to the audience as well. (When in doubt, assume it’s jargon!)
  • Describe images to the audience as you present, and give a brief description of a video before you play it.
  • Instead of asking your audience to read a slide, read it aloud (the audience may have a very small screen, or may not be able to see the slides).
  • Read aloud any URLs to the audience. Use a URL shortener like a Z link, tinyurl or bit.ly to make it easier.
  • If you are using a script, share it with the live captioner prior to your presentation.
  • If you are using a script, share it with the audience during the presentation.

Accessibility Instructions for Attendees    

  • If you plan on speaking during the conference, make sure you have a good quality microphone or a headset with a microphone to ensure that the live captioner and the speakers can hear and understand you. Any live events (except the breakout sessions) will be live captioned.
  • Keep your microphone and camera off unless you are asked to unmute either.
  • Speak slowly and clearly.