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How to make presentations and lectures more accessible

For the most part, presentations and lectures are filled with slides and foils. These slides and foils are more often than not populated with graphics and icons, and presenters use PowerPoint to develop their content. These are given factors and you may think that for a blind person this type of environment may be a bit difficult to overcome.

Not really though; there are ways for you to overcome this type of environment. I'll give you some secrets and you can then use these to develop your own strategies.

First off, you could distribute your PowerPoint electronically to your audience before hand. A blind person can certainly read your PowerPoint presentations with their screen reading and screen magnification software. By doing this, you give your blind participants an opportunity to know what you are going to talk about before you give your presentation.

Second, you can describe graphics and icons to your audience as you go along in your presentation. This would not only benefit blind audience members but everyone in general. Each time you point to something on your charts or on your screen, remember to describe it orally.

Third, all documents that you hand out can also be read by blind participants electronically as long as they are in textual formats. So for example, you can provide documents in such formats as Word, RTF, TXT, HTML/HTM, or in MHT. If your documents are in either PDF or PowerPoint, then you may want to ensure that the content has been appropriately tagged with accessibility features. This is not a very difficult thing to do.

What we are seeing these days is that more software is being made available to enable you to convert your graphical presentations into accessible formats so that everyone can benefit. So you see, things are becoming much easier.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, your freelance writer and roving reporter, wishing you a terrific day.

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