If you are hosting a meeting or event at your workplace you need to ensure it is inclusive of all attendees and accommodates people with disability. Remember to always ask attendees about their accessibility requirements and never make assumptions.

Planning your presentation

  • Consider using multiple communication methods to accommodate for different learning styles. Make use of images, graphs and text to capture the widest audience possible.
  • When using multi-media, provide captions or transcripts for audio, and audio descriptions for videos.
  • Make text and important visuals large enough to be read from the back of the room.
  • Use an easy to read font. Sans serif fonts such as Arial or Gotham and fonts with consistent spacing and character thickness are easier to read, especially for people with reading disorders.
  • Ensure sufficient colour contrast. There are many free tools to help you maintain WCAG 2.1 AA compliant colour contrast such as Colour Contrast Analyser by The Paciello Group.

For more information, please consult Microsoft’s guide to creating accessible PowerPoint slides.

Before the event

  • Email visitors with access information about the venue they are attending. Details could include accessible travel routes from nearby public transportation, accessibility information from the street to the venue room, nearby parking and the location of accessible toilets.
  • Ensure that agendas are accessible if you are providing them. Microsoft provides a guide for creating accessible Word documents.
  • Provide accessible PowerPoint slides to attendees in advance of the event. This allows people using screen readers or magnifiers to follow along with presentations on their laptops.
  • Ask attendees about any access or dietary requirements prior to your event. You may need to book Auslan interpreters or organise Hearing Loop facilities if this is not already available in the room.
  • Familiarise yourself with rules and regulations related to assistance animals.

Setting up the room

  • If a person who uses a wheelchair has indicated they are attending, the room should be accessible i.e. door is wide with no steps or obstructions near entry. The inside space should be configured to allow enough space for that person to navigate, and tables with removable chairs so they can choose where to sit.
  • Ensure there is a clearly accessible path to the room around a metre in width.
  • Microphones, ideally lapel mics, should be used when presenting in large rooms. This will benefit both people with hearing impairment and people sitting farther away from the presenter.
  • Make use of real time captions, or subtitles. Microsoft PowerPoint has a built-in option for real time captions/subtitles. Please note that real time captions require reliable internet connectivity for the presenter and audience and a microphone for the presenter.
  • The room should be arranged to provide the audience a good view of the presenters and screens. Ensure that the presenters are lit and avoid distracting backgrounds such as bright sunlight. Avoid glare on the screens where possible.
  • Brief external presenters on best practice standards so that they understand and adopt an inclusive presentation approach i.e. always say your name when you start speaking and describe what you are doing to include everyone on the phone or with low visions.
  • Encourage presenters to take these lessons back to their home agency.

When presenting

  • Speak clearly and at a measured pace. Avoid speaking quickly.
  • Use simple language and avoid or explain jargon, acronyms, and idioms.
  • Give people time to process information. Make time for short pauses in between topics.
  • Some people rely on lip reading. Be visible and do not face away from your audience. Try to ensure you are not in a dark or overly lit area as this makes it hard for people to see your lips.
  • Make sure to cover all the information on your slides. This does not mean you need to read your slides word for word, just that you should touch on everything being depicted in text.
  • Concisely describe any graphics or other visuals if they are required to understand your presentation.
  • Describe anything that occurs in the room if they are relevant to your presentation. For example, if asking people to vote on a topic by raising their hands, describe how many people raised their hands (“Around half of the room raised their hands”).