Presentation hints to help participants who don’t have perfect vision

Following a few minor best practices drastically improves the experience not only for people with vision loss but also those who are neurodiverse.

Eye glasses with clear plastic frames sitting on laptop
Photo by K8 on Unsplash

Send out presentation materials in advance.

When presenters do this, I can download them prior to the meeting and magnify them locally without having to ask in front of an entire group, “can you make that bigger?”

Put URLs in the chat window.

When presenters do this, I can load the page locally and magnify it to the detail I need to consume the information and not get a headache. Again, without having to interrupt the call to request that stuff be made larger, which may impede the presentation.

Don’t embed text in images.

When presenters use images with embedded text, the text is no longer text. The text is now pixels. Pixels “pixelate” (surprise!), which is a fancy term that means get blurry when you magnify the screen. Pixelation makes text harder to read, which again triggers headaches and slower comprehension.

Don’t use low contrast or neon color combinations, especially with text.

Presenters should avoid using any combination of:

  1. White text in combination with any pastel color
  2. Yellow and white on anything
  3. Neon colored text/background combinations
  • Neon color combinations for some autistic individuals can be equally difficult to consume.

Stick with simple, sans-serif fonts with a decent font size

Serif or overly ornate fonts make things much more difficult to read. Use 24 or even 28 points as your starting size when you can.

Don’t use italics for emphasis.

Bold or underline or changing the color (or any combination of those three) is much easier for people with disbilities to pick up and read.

Red/Green color-blind proof your presentations

Anywhere that presenters use:

  • Green with dark colors
  • Red and green together

Keep the motion to a minimum.

Motion, when magnified, can transition from a cute small animation to something that completely consumes the screen and can trigger motion sickness and migraines.

Avoid using optical illusions or parallax

Same reasons as minimizing motions.

  • Parallax causes the same sense of motion that triggers motion sickness as other more overt forms of motion.

Blogger, disability advocate, nerd. Bringing the fire on ableism. A11y Architect @ VMware. Wheelchair user w/ a deaf daughter. CS, Law, and Business background

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