Mukesh had a hard time dealing with the fact that his presentation, which he spent multiple days and nights on, was doomed. “Use larger headings the next time”, he made a mental note. People in the back row kept chattering with each other, paying no attention to him. They could neither see the screen nor hear him properly. He was heartbroken as all his effort went in vain.
What happened to Mukesh could happen to anybody. Besides, have you ever thought that there could be people with visual or hearing impairment in your audience? How do you suppose to connect to them? If you do not want your presentation to go south, you have to make it accessible to each person in the audience. Let’s dig deep into how you can make it more graspable and audience-friendly:
For blind or partially blind people:
Some people are not blessed with the gift of vision. So, it makes sense to start with how to make presentations accessible to them. You can easily improvise the presentation in a way that suits them.
- Use alt text for images, graphics, tables, and other visuals
When an image or any visual is not visible, alt text is provided to describe the image. It is especially useful to those who cannot visually identify an image, graphic, or table. Make sure to write a clear and elaborate description. Usually, it ends in one or two sentences.
- Try to repeat important points on the slide
For those who have sight issues and those who cannot view the screen from their seats, it is imperative to repeat the important information verbally as well. Moreover, it helps them to retain the information for a long time.
- Use contrast carefully
To make it easier for color deficient people, use color contrasts carefully. Avoid using too many colors; stick to 2-3 colors to maintain the aesthetics. Use a grayscale filter often in the slides. Considering how common the “red-green” color vision deficiency is, avoid this particular combination while designing your presentation.
- Provide screen recorders
As the name suggests, the function of screen readers is to read whatever is there on the screen. It is a utility software designed especially for visually impaired people. They perceive data through audio reception.
For those with auditory impairment
Hearing loss is a common disability that affects more than 5% of people in the world. If you include the following practices in your next presentation, those who are hard of hearing will thank you for it:
- Put closed captions below the video
If your presentation features a video that involves dialogue, don’t forget to add subtitles to it. Closed captions not only help folks with hearing disabilities but also those who don’t understand the accent in the video very well.
- Enable sign language
Suppose you are presenting to an audience that majorly comprises hearing-impaired individuals. Apart from using enticing visuals, consider hiring a sign-language expert to translate your words to the audience. The alternative could be to show a video that presents the information in sign language.
- Provide assistive listening devices
If possible, try providing Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) to them. They are sort of amplifiers that increase the intensity and quality of the sound. They can help those who are not stone deaf since the sound produced by ALDs is distinct. It gives the impression that the sound is somewhere close.
Some general practices:
- Employ complex fonts to increase attention span
Yes, you heard right. Not simple, but complex fonts are a better option if you want your audience to concentrate. If only Mukesh knew this trick! According to studies, text that is difficult to read is easy to remember. This may sound counter-intuitive but when something is complex, full attention is required to comprehend it. If the audience is deliberately paying attention, there is a high chance that no piece of information will go without being noticed. It is a surefire way to curb distractions.
- Create your presentation in multiple formats
The key to making your presentation more accessible is to create multiple formatted versions of it. Form a readable pdf of your PowerPoint presentation. You can also create a mobile-responsive version of the presentation so that it could be accessed from a phone screen or a tablet screen.
As mentioned earlier, there are people with disabilities. So, you may as well create separate video formats of your presentation for them.
- Everyone appreciates extra material
After the presentation, it is highly recommended to supply handouts with a synopsis of your presentation. In case somebody missed a point while It is a great way to ensure that people still have access to your presentation after they have left. If you also email the soft copy, so much the better.
- Make use of symbols to highlight
For emphasis on a certain word or graphic, you can make use of symbols instead of using color-coded highlights. The symbol can be as simple as a horizontal line below the text, a rectangle, or an oval-shaped structure around the object.
- People have a fondness for large titles
The first thing is to give each slide a title; preferably, no slide should be without a title. Now, these titles must be written in big, bold fonts. As long as the size of the text is large, everyone in the conference room can read and understand it.
For someone who leaves no stone unturned in preparing for the presentation, it is a heartily desire to reach out to as many people as possible. The above-given solutions are viable for large-scale presentations. Along with these solutions, excellent delivery and fine communication skills go a long way towards accomplishing what you desire.