Creating presentations that are accessible to everyone is an important consideration for content developers. Because Adobe Presenter 8 presentations are authored in Microsoft PowerPoint, it is important that the PowerPoint presentation itself be accessible.
Because 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 blind 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.
A wider audience can be reached when your PowerPoint presentations are made accessible. To create effective and accessible PowerPoints, it is best to start thinking about accessibility right from the development stage. Here are a few key steps that will help you to begin creating accessible PowerPoint presentation:
For images or objects (e.g., charts) used in your presentation, add text equivalents (alt text) using the steps below.
Select the Web tab in the dialog box.
In PowerPoint 2007 this option is also available but under different headings
Accessible presentations should limit transitions whenever possible. When a PowerPoint presentation is converted into a Adobe Presenter 8 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 page’s 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.
If you must use Animations in your PowerPoint presentations then these should be made accessible. Ensure that Flash animations used in your presentations are accessible by following the recommendations for accessible 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.
For presentations with narrative audio recorded and delivered in Adobe Presenter 8, it is important to provide a text transcript of this information for users with hearing impairments. Simply placing a transcript of the audio in the Notes panel within Microsoft PowerPoint can do this. This information is then made available to users within the notes pane in the final, published Adobe Presenter 8 Presentation.
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If you have questions or comments or want to get involved with Adobe’s accessibility efforts, contact us. We welcome your feedback.