Accessible Presentations – Special Considerations: STEM Content and Notes Panel

STEM Content

In the event that your presentation needs to include math, science or any other content that requires equations, please be aware that PowerPoint’s built-in Equation Editor (located in the Insert Ribbon with Symbols) is not accessible for screen readers. The resulting equations are inserted as images, and adding alt text to these images doesn’t render usable content with PPT.

Even if equations are written out linearly in PPT, there are some STEM symbols that screen readers do not voice properly or at all.

Note: If you have a limited number of equations, you may be able to tag them as figures once you convert your presentation to PDF. Then, when you add the alt text in PDF, you will need to write out the equations as if you were speaking them.

Notes Panel

While the Notes Panel is great for presenters, it’s not a reliable way to convey information to participants who use screen readers, especially once the presentation is converted to a PDF document.

However, if the PPT is distributed as a PPTX, the Notes Panel may be of use for participants who are deaf or hard of hearing. If a video is included in the presentation, a transcript may be added in the Notes Panel. However, choosing a captioned video is still best.

We’ll talk about multimedia more next week.

Bonus! If you’re looking for more ideas, check out these Learning Styles & Active Learning Boot Camp workshops in November. Details and registration are available on our CAPE TeamUp Calendar.

  • Creating Engaging Presentations with Matt Wiley
  • Active Learning Tools with Deb Butler
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