Chris Graham

Creating Accessible Documents and Presentations

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As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about accessibility one thing I often found myself noticing was how inaccessible various documents and presentations I encountered were. As a result I created a guide based on my own knowledge and research, originally to circulate at work, but that I’ve now adapted for wider sharing.

Links to download the guide in various formats can be found near the end of this post. What follows is a quick run through what the guide covers.


First up I’d like to point out that I currently have no official accessibility qualifications, although that is something I’d like to fix soon. As such any suggestions in the guide are based only on my own research and experience of working in web development as well as referencing of various sources included at the bottom of this post.

Key Areas

Contrast and Readbility

Contrast and readbility encompasses most of the issues I’ve seen in documents and presentations.

By far the most common thing I see is low contrast between text and background colours, quite often as a result of wanting to use fancy branded backgrounds or text. This was often made even worse by presentations being shown under lighting conditions that reduced the contrast as well such as weak projectors, being projected onto walls rather than proper projector surfaces, or bright lighting in the space.

Other than text contrast the only other really common thing was people including a large amount of text, often things like snippets of code, that were hard enough or impossible to read even for someone without a vision impairment.

Text Alternatives and Clear Labelling

Lack of clear labelling is not the most common issue, but did show up occasionally, the most common case being someone describing something on the slides well during a presentation, but any attempt to reference the slides or document afterwards was useless as none of the detail was present to describe the information.


Issues with language are a bit hard to judge as often the language is aimed at the audience and people tended to get that right, but sometimes I found people ended up using acronyms and references assuming the audience understood them, or like with text alternatives describing the acronyms during a presentation with no consideration for anyone checking the slides later.

Special Disability Considerations

On top of more general considerations there are a couple of specific disabilities I found were poorly considered.

Colour Blindness

Colour Blindness seems to often be forgotten, even though if affects around 8% of the male population, or about 4.5% of the population as a whole (colour blindness is much less common in women).


With videos and gifs being fairly common in presentations it was surprising to see videos often shown warning and without consideration for how different presentation equipment (such as bigger brighter screens) might make triggers worse. Forgetting to add a warning slide in presenations was also common, so anyone viewing later might get a surprise.