Make Your MLA '21 Presentation Accessible
To provide the best experience for MLA '21 attendees and members, MLA asks ALL presenters to make their presentations as accessible as possible.
- MLA has contracted with our meeting content provider, CadmiumCD, to enable new tools for audio recording (posters) and video recording (slides for papers, lightning talks, Exhibitor Solution Showcases). The new tools offer both recording AND editing of captions.
- If presenters are uploading or linking to video recordings rather than using CadmiumCD tools, tips for recording slides with captions are noted below.
- Plenary Sessions will be captioned live and lightly edited post-conference to provide better accuracy.
- Immersion session recordings (recorded with Zoom and captioned with the artificial intelligence engine Otter.ai) will be lightly edited post-conference to provide better accuracy.
- Other accessibility options may be available depending on meeting registrants' needs.
Special thanks to the Accessibility and Disability Caucus of MLA for providing many of the resources below. Last updated February 4, 2021.
If you have other resource to share, please email Kate Corcoran.
- Create transcripts for audio presentations.
- Presenters can use “Always use subtitles” in PowerPoint online or Google Slides’ auto-captioning option.
- If you record a presentation using Zoom, make sure to turn on transcript--and edit it before providing the link for MLA '21.
- Your institution may have an accessibility officer or other knowledgeable person. They may be good resources.
Designing Presentation Slides
- Be selective. Cut unneeded details. Extra information clutters up your presentation.
- Do not use color as the only way to convey meaning or information.
- Ensure the colors you use have a high contrast. Use the WebAIM contrast checker.
- Use larger font size (larger than 18 pt) with sufficient white space.
- Avoid putting too much text on one slide and instead break up the content.
- If using PowerPoint, avoid using text boxes and use the predefined slide layouts.
- Avoid animations or complicated slide transitions.
- Make a unique title for each slide.
During Your Presentation (Including While Recording)
Practice your presentation and the tools you will use. You will speak more clearly if you practice.
You're an expert on your content: remove any "upspeak" or "uptalk".
Remove distracting fillers, such as "um", "like", or "you know"—and replace with pauses.
Pauses give people time to process what you have shared.
Be familiar with any tools you will use. You will better engage audience members if you test that tools you use work.
Use “Always use subtitles” in PowerPoint online or Google Slides’ auto captioning option.
Share a low-vision handout of your presentation with plain-text descriptions of non-decorative images.
Including alt-text of images is also useful. When you convert slides to handouts or PDFs, make sure the program embeds your alt-tags.
- Organizers for the Open Education Conference created tips on "How to Make Your Virtual Conference Presentation More Accessible."
- The Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT created Presentation and Poster Accessibility Guidelines for their Tapia Conference.
- Visit the American Public Health Association web page on Accessible Poster Presentations.
- The Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities at the University of Colorado created a resource on Inclusive Conference Presentation Guidelines.
- Access one-page accessibility resources from the National Center on Disability and Access to Education.
- Check the color contrast of your slides with the WebAIM contrast checker.
- Download the WAVE accessibility browser plugin for Chrome or Firefox.
- Use this simulator from color-blindness.com to understand how color choices impact those with color vision deficiency (CVD) or color-blindness. You can upload your own images to test.
- Review the University of Colorado Boulder Office of Integrity, Safety and Compliance web pages about Providing Spoken Descriptions of Visual Content. and on Understanding PowerPoint Accessibility.
- Download the University of Framingham Department of Rehabilitation PDF document "Seven Steps to Creating an Accessible PowerPoint Slideshow."
- The Tableau website provides information on designing for color vision deficiency (CVD) when presenting data.
- Paul Tol is an Instrument Scientist with a PhD in atomic physics with normal color vision, but has provided scientific notes on colorblind-safe palettes.
Readability and Understanding
- Use plain language: tips and definitions are on the plainlanguage.gov website.
- Access the Center for Plain Language "Five Steps to Plain Language."
- Consider using the Hemingway App to improve readability.
- Review MLA's Technology in Education Caucus presentation on the Hemingway App and plain language