July 02, 2020

Webinar Highlights: How Accessible is Your Talk?

We would like to thank everyone who attended our “How Accessible is Your Talk” webinar on June 25th.  Our webinar featured Brianna Blaser of AccessComputing, Synge Tyson of Usercessible and  Ana Liu, University of Washington.  The webinar was moderated by Rose Robinson, Executive Director of CMD-IT.   The webinar was created to support presenters at the 2020 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference which will be delivered entirely virtually and anyone who might find themselves presenting virtually.  Virtual events present unique challenges for attendees who may include people who are blind or visually impaired, deaf or hearing impaired, and/or have attention and learning related disabilities.

Brianna Blaser, Project Manager for AccessComputing at the University of Washington, presented many tips for presenters in the webinar including:

  • Make sure participants can request accommodations prior to your presentation.  Tapia 2020 includes this right in the event registration so needs can be addressed well in advance of the event.
  • Make slides available in advance
  • Use large fonts, make your slides simple and easy to read.
  • Caption videos and include audio descriptions
  • Speak all content on your slides
  • Provide closed captioning when requested.
  • Make sure your video conferencing software is accessible

Ana Liu, a student at the University of Washington, shared her experiences as a deaf student in virtual classes.  Her engagement with online classes includes two laptops and an iPad to enable her to access the zoom meetings, in class activities, synched notes from a classmate, access to resources via Slack and an American Sign Language Interpreter (ASL).  Her advice for hearing impaired attendees included:

  • Participate in a disability workshop to learn how to protect your rights.
  • Attend community events to receive and provide support to/from the community.
  • Reach out to the disability resource office/HR to decide on accommodations and utilize resources from them
  • Communicate with your professors and managers about your accommodations ahead of time
  • Communicate with your classmates and co-workers to figure out an effective way to work together

Synge Tyson, Managing Partner of Usercessible, LLC, shared why you should make your presentations accessible: 

  • You value the people in your life
  • Accessibility adds value
  • Your hard work and your knowledge should be shared with everyone in your audience
  • When you include – you diversify
  • You are the one who can make accessibility happen.

We will be supporting all of our presenters in making their panels, workshops, posters, and presentations accessible to all of our attendees. View our accessibility guidelines.

The speakers have kindly provided permission to share their presentations along with resources. We encourage everyone to learn more about making their presentations accessible.  Our speakers shared key resources for improving accessibility throughout their presentations. 

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Read more on how to prepare PowerPoint presentations from Microsoft article, Make your PowerPoint presentations accessible to people with disabilities.

Learn more on Zoom about Zoom Phone Controls (including landline).

Conference Accessibility from the World Institute on Disability.

Read about Telework and Accessibility at Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) site.

There are great resources provided by The International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP).

Conference promoting accessibility and assistive technologies, M-Enabling Summit, is held annual.

Usability (U. S. government website) is the leading resource for user experience (UX) best practices and guidelines, serving practitioners and students in the government and private sectors. 

The American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rights has provided a great Accessible Meeting Toolkit for preparing and organizing meetings and events.

The United Nations ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2006 and is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension.

AccessComputing has incredible resources on Accessibility and Universal Design of Online Meetings at,creating accessible slides and example of video description. See more resources below.