Ian Shadrick on Accessibility During and After Your Potent Presentation

Hello, I am Ian Shadrick, program coordinator of graduate programs in Blindness and Low Vision and Orientation & Mobility at Missouri State University. As a follow up to some of great tips provided in Creating Presentation Potent for All, I’d like to talk to you today about some additional methods to ensure full inclusion of persons with blindness or low vision in your presentations and related evaluations. Without careful consideration, it is quite common for persons with blindness or low vision to not have the opportunity to fully participate in these environments. Additionally many individuals with low vision, or those in early stages of vision loss, may not be as obvious; or may choose not to disclose their low vision. Given this, it is important to consider ways to improve opportunities for access to information both in presentations and related evaluations.

Lessons Learned:

  • The World Health Organization reports 161 million people have a visual impairment, among them 124 million are persons with low vision, and 37 million are persons with blindness.
  • Most persons with blindness have some amount of vision, which can vary in functionality based on environment.
  • Unlike persons with blindness, many persons with low vision may present with no visible signs as someone with low vision, i.e. they do not use a cane/dog guide, and may not be using any other assistive optical devices.
  • Many factors can impact the ability for a person with low vision to fully participate in presentations and evaluations (e.g. lighting, glare, contrast, screen location/angles, etc.).

Tips for Presentations:

  • Whenever possible provide materials ahead, such as a website provided by the organization/conference.
  • When considering electronic documents, provide either Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format files, as these are most accessible to screen reading and magnification software.
  • Don’t be afraid to use tables or charts, but ensure descriptions are provided verbally and in text documents.
  • Describe graphics or photos whenever present.
  • Consider lighting when presenting, if possible leave some lights on, allowing someone the opportunity to use the light as needed.
  • If using a video, consider obtaining a descriptive video, or if not available, be prepared to provide a description yourself.

Tips for Evaluations Related to Presentations:

  • Whenever possible provide an opportunity for completion through an accessible website, such as Survey Monkey.
  • If possible provide alternative formats (large print and Braille) for hardcopy forms.
  • Consider having someone present to assist in reading and recording responses if the two previous suggestions are not an option.


Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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