MS PowerPoint Chapter 3: Styles and Appearances

What does an accessible PowerPoint look like?


Section 3.1: Using Color to Convey Meaning

If you are going to use color to convey information, always include a text alternative. Color alone is not enough to show off information. Color blind users or people with low vision may not be able to read the data or struggle to differentiate the data sections.

A pie chart on the most popular sports without good data labels.

This pie chart for the most popular sports only uses color to represent the data. A person who is color-blind may not be able to tell the difference between the colors. There-fore they cannot read the data.

Pie Chart of the most popular sports with data labels and alt text.

This pie chart for the most popular sports has data labels to represent the data in addition to the color. Now all users can read the data much easier.

Section 3.2: Color Contrast

  1. When typing in text you want to consider the color contrast between the text and the background. For small text (under size 18), a good contrast ratio to aim for is 4.5:1 or higher. For bigger text (over size 18) a good contrast ratio is 3:1 or higher. Black text on a white background or 21:1 is considered to be the most accessible contrast ratio.

  2. Backgrounds with crazy features or patterns should be avoided at all costs.

A slide with a poor color contrast ratio.

This slide above has a contrast ratio of 1.13 : 1. This is very low and hardly visible to most readers.

Section 3.3: Creating Alt Text

  1. Right click on your photo or object in your presentation and click “Edit Alt Text” in the drop menu.

  2. In 150 characters or less, describe your image. Tell the reader what is happening and direct attention to the important details.

Section 3.4: Transitions and Animations

As cool as transitions and animations can make your presentation, it is best to use them conservatively. Many transitions and animations are time consuming, distracting, and most importantly could overwhelm viewers.

  1. For transitions, it is best to not use them at all. To make this setting, go to the Transition Tab, and click “None”

  2. For animations, the rules are a little more lenient. The best effect to use is the green “appear” effect. This effect will just make your words appear on the presentation.

  3. When using animations, be sure to have them appear in the right order from top to bottom. Do not use any of the yellow or red animations. They make text disappear or activate an effect at a time when it would not be appropriate for one.

Section 3.5: Can I use Flashing and Blinking Images or GIFs?

As a general rule, you should avoid any flashing or blinking images. Flashing, blinking, or flickering content can trigger epileptic seizures. If you do have flashing or blinking images, be sure they do not flash more than 3 times per second. For animations, do not use any flashing or flickering animations. Just use the simple “Appear” animation.