ALTC23 Register Now

Becoming (more) accessible by design

by Dr Ilene Dawn Alexander, Dr Teeroumanee Nadan, Rosemarie McIlwhan, Annual Conference 2023 Committee Members & Accessibility Sub-Committee Members

One of the hopes of the conference committee is to make ALT 2023 Conference the most accessible and inclusive conference to date, paving the way for similar initiatives in the future. We would like to think that ALT is an inclusive and accessible community, but there is always more which can be done. That is one of the reasons that this year we have an accessibility sub-committee exploring the specific actions we can take to ensure that everyone feels welcome and included.

When writing this blog, we were reflecting on how technology has moved on in the last 30 years, from books on LP records to audio books, from text-to-speech and speech-to-text being niche apps to becoming ubiquitous in mobile and other devices. There has been much movement forward in enhancing accessibility; however, much still relies on individuals requesting something be made accessible rather than accessibility being designed into presentations, course materials, or course and site design from the state. We offer an understanding of access by design enacting practices for “making information, activities, and/or environments sensible, meaningful, and usable for as many people as possible being designed in from the start” (SeeWriteHearWebsite). 

As we want to encompass accessibility from the start for #altc23, we offer here our brief reflections on the benefits of creating accessible presentations, as well as a curated set of presentation-specific resources that provide specific examples of effective practices, and address the “why” of what to do, and what not to do.

Key Resources for Presenters

As a starting point, we highlight three key areas which we encourage presenters to keep in mind and put in practise for #altc23

  1. Design your slides, graphs, charts, images, videos and animations with accessibility in mind

From considering font colour to font size to slide background designs, we are conscious that we are asking presenters to go beyond their comfort zone in making accessibility happen and we appreciate your effort on this. 

  1. Sharing is caring

Sharing your materials beforehand is of benefit to many participants (visually impaired, hearing impaired, neurodivergent, non-English speakers and slow readers to name a few) and format of sharing is also crucial.

  1. An accessible presentation for inclusivity is a start to end mindset both in the physical space and the digital space

Spotting accessibility needs in the physical spaces and presenting in an accessible manner (speaking slowly with the right choice of words, using the microphone) are always appreciated by everyone. We are hoping to guide Session Chairs as well to lend an extra hand on the accessibility front.

While the #altc23 accessibility sub-committee will be putting together official guidelines for presenters, you are welcome to check the following foundational materials that provide a wealth of example-specific information for presenters:

What next?

We are currently looking at additional accessibility factors, such as the onsite accessibility of the conference venue at the University of Warwick and enhancing accessibility for participants and presenters in #altc23 online spaces.  We are keen to provide further guidance and reflective practices in these areas through further posts during the summer and as part of conference materials.Watch out for updates from us!

Finally, we welcome you all as ALT community members and readers of ALT blogs to engage with this post to share what you do to ensure accessibility so that we can build on a broad array of existing good practices.

#altc23 Accessibility Sub-committee

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *