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Giving a Conference Presentation: Pointers for People with Low Vision

by Connor Courtien, RDPFS Intern

Whether or not you have a visual impairment, preparation is the key to giving a smooth and effective presentation. However, if you have low vision, some additional suggestions offered in an article from Perkins School for the Blind can be kept in mind. One aspect is formatting the visuals with a limited amount of text on slides, so that both you and your audience will have to refer to them less often, mitigating the amount of reading required. Additionally, it’s preferable to use fonts with simple, distinct characters, like Arial (used here) or Calibri. Whatever the font choice, make text large, with a light color on a dark background to make reading it easier for you and your audience. Also, bring notes for each slide, in large print or braille, to help stay in-sync with the material on them. Include alt-text for any images as well, so it remains accessible when distributed. When the time comes to present, communicating with the organizer is essential. If presenting in person, let them know what equipment you’ll bring and what you might need from them so you don’t have to work with whatever happens to be available. Check out the location beforehand to set up, as well as to get a sense of the layout of the room and where people will be seated. When using Zoom or other online platforms, send the presentation to the organizer ahead of time in case you have issues sharing your screen or navigating slides. Similarly, see if the chat function will be used and if so, ask if they could monitor it for relevant questions during the presentation. For more tips, read this article from Perkins School for the Blind, When You Have Low Vision and Are the Conference Presenter.