AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators



June Gothberg on Creating Presentations Potent for All

Greetings, I am June Gothberg and assisting with AEA’s Potent Presentations Initiative (p2i). Today, I want to share with you how to design presentations for all audience members. It is important that presentations are readable, navigable, and understandable.

Lesson Learned: Your audience is likely to be diverse.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates:
    • 7-8% of men and 0.4% of women are colorblind, across eight different strains (red/green, blue/yellow, full colorblindness).
    • 4% are low vision.
    • 4% are severely dyslexic.
    • Many are slow readers or processors.

Hot Tips:

  • Emphasize readability: Fonts should be large and easy to read.
    • Use Sans Serif fonts such as Helvetica, Arial and Verdana rather than font types like ‘Times New Roman’, because low vision people have difficulty with reading text in font types with serifs.
    • Avoid the use of italic font style; this style even hampers normal vision reading.
    • Try to use one font type per slide.
  • Emphasize see-ability: Color selection is important.
    • Use solid or near solid backgrounds.
    • Color contrast can improve see-ability.
    • There are two types of contrast – brightness and color.
    • The highest brightness contrast, thus increased see-ability, is black and white.
    • Use complementary colors (colors directly across from each other on the color wheel).
    • Red-green is the highest incidence of colorblindness, so use these colors sparingly.
  • Emphasize understandability: Graphics, figures, maps, and images are oft neglected.
    • Use oral support when presenting graphics.
    • Remember red is a color issue – laser points are red!
    • Legends are difficult for many to interpret.
    • Use text, arrows, or other indicators to emphasize important information.
  • Handouts may be critical especially for those with hidden disabilities.
    • Distribute handouts before you present; this especially assists those with low vision, dyslexia, and comprehension difficulties.
    • Bring an electronic copy.
    • If possible, bring a few large-text copies.
  • Attend Potent Presentations Initiative trainings on slide design at the conference.

Rad Resources:

  • To check overall accessibility. Instructions for using Microsoft’s Accessibility Checker
  • To check your design: Try Petr Stanicek’s Color Scheme Designer. Select your intended color scheme and then select the colorblindness button in the top right corner to check your scheme for each of the eight strains of colorblindness.
  • To check your slides: Try Vischeck. Once you create your presentation, create a picture image of your slide(s). This is very simple to do by using screen capture (PC and Mac instructions), open up your graphics editor, crop, and save as a .png or .jpg file. Next upload to Vischeck and viola you can now see your slide as someone else might.
  • P2i Presentation Slide Design Guidelines.

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 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Associationand provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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  • June · February 21, 2013 at 10:00 am

    There is a great post on this Ann at


  • Susan Kistler on Thanking the aea365 Community · AEA365 · December 31, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    […] with enthusiasm and with tact. And, June contributed one of the top 10 aea365 posts of all time: Creating Presentations Potent for All. Thank you […]


  • Ian Shadrick on Accessibility During and After Your Potent Presentation · AEA365 · August 15, 2012 at 3:08 am

    […] & 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 […]


  • Ann Emery · August 3, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Hi June and others,

    Here’s a related blog post by a woman named M. Monica that she shared just yesterday. Not related directly to presentations, but good all-around things to be aware of.

    “How to talk to people in wheelchairs” by M. Monica:

    Happy Friday,


  • Stephanie Evergreen · July 31, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Great post, June!

    I’ve used Vischeck on documents and graphs that I want to print out for distribution, as well as my slides. It’s handy all around.

    Can’t wait to read tomorrow’s post.


  • Susan Kistler · July 31, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Really good point Stephen, and one we need to keep in mind! I always try to remember that Martin Luther King didn’t have slides when he had a dream and that Abraham Lincoln pontificated without PowerPoint.

    June – great ideas for when we do need slides, which certainly have become the standard in most situations.


  • Stephen J. Gill · July 31, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Great suggestions for using slides with any audience. I assume that when you say “presentation” you mean “slides” (PowerPoint, etc.). A presentation doesn’t necessarily have to use slides. In fact, that’s a decision that a presenter needs to make, i.e., will slides help in getting the message across to the audience.


    • June Gothberg · August 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      Thank you for the reminder Stephen and Susan. Yes I was referring to slides.


  • Jennifer Coyle on Creating Presentations Potent for those with Hearing Loss or Hearing Aids · AEA365 · July 31, 2012 at 2:59 am

    […] Site Administration Logout Recent Commentsjgothberg commented on June Gothberg on Creating Presentations Potent for All […]


  • Ann Emery · July 30, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Great tips, June!

    I’ve worked with a few evaluators and program staff who are legally blind and I agree that handouts are especially helpful for them.

    Any advice for audience members with hearing aids?

    Thanks, Ann


    • Author comment by jgothberg · July 30, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      Ann stay tuned for tomorrow’s post… I believe some of your questions will be answered


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