Accessibility Checklist for Face-to-face Presentations

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Use this checklist to guide you toward creating accessible face-to-face presentations.  Start with practices that you find quick and easy, then build from there. 

                                                   Small changes can have a big impact

Visual Considerations 

To make it easier for the audience to use information and cues available from seeing the eyes
and mouth of the speaker:

◻  Face your audience; avoid facing the screen or white board or looking down at your notes
      for long periods of time
◻  Strive to visually engage audience members in the entire room by looking at all areas in the room
◻  Be visible to your audience by standing in a well-lit area
◻  Do not stand in the projector light, in shadow, or in front of the screen/whiteboard
◻  Avoid excessive movement or roaming throughout the room while presenting

Auditory Considerations 

To alleviate undue effort and fatigue from straining to hear:

◻  Use a microphone if the space seats more than 25 people, or if there are background noises
      (e.g., fan, projector, heating system, noisy hallway)
◻  Check with audience members to see if they are having any difficulties hearing you
◻  Speak clearly and avoid speaking too quickly
◻  Provide important announcements in writing as well as verbally, if possible
◻  Repeat questions, answers, or comments from audience members
◻  Verbally explain all visuals provided on slides (e.g., charts, graphs, images)

Comprehension Considerations 

To reduce cognitive load and unnecessary effort:

◻  Design a well-organized lesson (e.g., use title slides to separate sections)
◻  Make slides (or partially filled-in slides) available electronically before class
◻  Provide a clear outline at the beginning of the lesson and revisit at the end of the lesson
◻  Give learners time to process complex concepts
◻  Explain acronyms and abbreviations both verbally and in writing
◻  Provide short breaks in lessons over 60 minutes
◻  Include a variety of media formats (e.g., text, graphics, audio, video) to communicate concepts
      in your presentation
◻  If using audio, provide a transcript; if using video, add captions on the video; if using audio and video,
      provide both a transcript and captions
◻  Chunk the lesson into sections and ask questions and/or allow time for questions after each section
◻  If learners are expected to read a passage silently on the screen, read it out loud for them
◻  Give more than one example when explaining complex concepts 


Palmer, J. & Caputo, A. (2002-2003). The Universal Instructional Design Implementation Guide. Open Learning and Educational Support, University of Guelph.

Further Information

Educator’s Toolkit. Council of Ontario Universities Accessible Campus.
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

teaching tips This Creative Commons license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon our work non-commercially, as long as they credit us and indicate if changes were made. Use this citation format: Accessibility Checklist for Face-to-face Presentations. Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo.