How to Deliver an Accessible & Inclusive Presentation- Fen Slattery

C93a2f095a8dce6dbc3176db3e837db0?s=47 A11YChi
November 19, 2019

How to Deliver an Accessible & Inclusive Presentation- Fen Slattery

Often, when we’re excited and knowledgable about a topic, our focus on communicating with our audience is missing. It’s so easy to make slides that aren’t readable, to structure our talks in confusing ways, or to use unintentionally harmful language. Just as easily, though, we can consider the needs and identities of our audience members, and avoid placing barriers in the way of learning and engagement.

In this talk, digital inclusion and accessibility expert, A11YChi co-organizer, and speaker extraordinaire Fen Slattery will share their expertise for giving inclusive talks, which they’ve developed as a seasoned tech conference speaker. Attendees are sure to come away with suggestions they can implement immediately in their own conference or meetup talks, at work, and in their everyday life!

About the Speaker

Fen Slattery is the Accessibility Lead at Clique Studios, where they build beautiful things and work towards a more inclusive digital world. As a web engineer, Fen seamlessly translates the needs of users into digital experiences that minimize barriers to access. As part of their advocacy work, they have spoken across the US to audiences of all skill levels, been featured on many panels about inclusion in the tech industry, and have spread their passion for accessibility in mentorship of web professionals.

They come to the world of development from a psychology and physics background at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Currently, they are a co-organizer for Chicago’s Digital Accessibility and Inclusive Design meetup, one of the largest community accessibility organizations worldwide. In their spare time, Fen can be found writing zines, running roleplaying games, and taking their cat for walks.

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A11YChi

November 19, 2019
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Transcript

  1. How to Deliver an Accessible and Inclusive Presentation

  2. Link to these slides: bit.ly/2XwkeEN

  3. Fen Slattery they/them | @sublimemarch Accessibility Lead at Clique Studios

    Co-organizer of Chicago Digital Accessibility and Inclusive Design Meetup
  4. I speak at about roughly one event per month.

  5. I mentor people who speak at tech industry events.

  6. “Fen has been an exceptional person to have on my

    side in developing talks, mostly because they will literally drive to my house and tell me my talk is good until I believe it.” - Carly Ho
  7. I’ve seen a lot of talks, both good and bad.

  8. I’m personally impacted by inaccessible and uninclusive talks.

  9. Who are you?

  10. My assumptions: • You have been to a meetup or

    conference before. • You care about other people. • You understand why inclusion and accessibility is important. • You want to do better.
  11. 1. Why present? 2. Before you commit 3. Preparing your

    talk 4. Slide design 5. The day of your talk 6. During your talk 7. Taking care of yourself
  12. Some notes: • I’m using conferences and meetups as examples.

    • This applies just as well to giving a wedding toast or presenting at work or giving a speech at a protest, etc.
  13. Some notes: • I’m not perfect and neither is this

    talk. • This isn’t an exhaustive list. It’s about 90% of what you need. • Breathe, it’s going to be okay.
  14. 1. Why present? 2. Before you commit 3. Preparing your

    talk 4. Slide design 5. The day of your talk 6. During your talk 7. Taking care of yourself
  15. Why present? • Because you have to • Because it

    makes you feel good about yourself • Because you want to educate • Because you want to entertain
  16. Who’s your talk really for? • Presenting isn’t for you.

    • It’s not for the people you work for or the event hosting you. • It’s for your audience.
  17. Who’s the audience? • People physically in the room •

    People watching a live stream • People watching a recording • People reading a transcript • People reading your slides
  18. If your talk isn’t tailored to the audience, what’s the

    point of giving a talk?
  19. My philosophy • Your duty is to inspire emotion first,

    and educate second. • People need to care about what you say, otherwise they won’t retain it or take notes or research it more later.
  20. If your audience can’t trust you or care, what’s the

    point of giving a talk?
  21. Inclusive talks help the audience trust you and care about

    what you’re communicating.
  22. 1. Why present? 2. Before you commit 3. Preparing your

    talk 4. Slide design 5. The day of your talk 6. During your talk 7. Taking care of yourself
  23. Should I be the person to give this talk to

    this audience?
  24. You have power to enact change as a speaker.

  25. Questions to ask: • Will there be a microphone? •

    Will there be live captioning? • What is being done to make the physical space accessible?
  26. Questions to ask: • Is there a code of conduct

    (CoC)? • Are staff trained on the CoC? • Are speakers given inclusion guidance? • What is being done to make the space inclusive and safe?
  27. Research the audience • Ask the organizers, “What should I

    know about the audience?” • Look up previous talks • Find photos of prior events • Read the event hashtag
  28. Don’t assume that your audience members can: • See you

    • Hear you • Communicate with you • Understand your meaning
  29. Don’t assume that your audience members all: • Have jobs

    • Are of a similar age • Do/don’t have kids • Are/aren’t married
  30. Don’t assume that your audience is entirely: • White •

    Straight • Cisgender • Abled • Men
  31. Consider your own identities, especially if your talk is about

    diversity and inclusion.
  32. If you’re speaking about the experience of others, stop. Make

    space for others.
  33. If your talk is about performing allyship, then do your

    research and be humble.
  34. If you are a good person to give this talk

    to this audience, then do it!
  35. 1. Why present? 2. Before you commit 3. Preparing your

    talk 4. Slide design 5. The day of your talk 6. During your talk 7. Taking care of yourself
  36. Use your talk description as the basis for organization. Don’t

    surprise your audience.
  37. Create clear structure. • What question does each section of

    your talk answer? • How does each section connect? • Share that structure explicitly via an agenda.
  38. Include content warnings. • Any very strong emotional content (anger,

    yelling) • Unexpected activity/movement • Bigotry and difficult topics
  39. Use multiple visual communication methods. • Charts • Images •

    Written words
  40. Create inclusive and adaptable activities. • Group work optional •

    Movement optional • No shaming those who aren’t participating.
  41. Prepare accessible handouts. • Sufficiently large print • Electronic options

    - HTML or pdf • Don’t require sharing copies.
  42. 1. Why present? 2. Before you commit 3. Preparing your

    talk 4. Slide design 5. The day of your talk 6. During your talk 7. Taking care of yourself
  43. Choose easy-to-read fonts. • Serif or sans-serif is fine. •

    Nothing cursive. • Avoid monospaced. • Appropriate letter spacing.
  44. Ensure good contrast. • Use contrast-testing tools, but be strict.

    • Assume you’ll have a crappy projector. • Readable is more important than fun.
  45. Ensure good contrast. • In a dark environment, use light

    text on a dark background. • In a light environment, use dark text on a light background.
  46. Avoid the edges. • Assume that views will be partially

    obstructed. • Stay away from the bottom fifth of the slide.
  47. Make your text as large as you can, while maintaining

    readability.
  48. Don’t communicate meaning solely through color. Try symbols and words.

  49. Make sure your videos have captions.

  50. Avoid overloading a slide with too much text.

  51. One complete thought per slide.

  52. 1. Why present? 2. Before you commit 3. Preparing your

    talk 4. Slide design 5. The day of your talk 6. During your talk 7. Taking care of yourself
  53. Observe a talk in the space you’re speaking in, if

    possible.
  54. Do an actual microphone test. Make sure volume is good

    across the room.
  55. Know where you can and can’t walk on the stage

    for visibility.
  56. Don’t rely on “can everyone hear me.”

  57. Don’t require audience members to out themselves.

  58. Share your slides ahead of time. • On Twitter, using

    the event hashtag. • Via Speaker Deck or similar • Provide the link at the beginning of your slides
  59. 1. Why present? 2. Before you commit 3. Preparing your

    talk 4. Slide design 5. The day of your talk 6. During your talk 7. Taking care of yourself
  60. Start by learning about your audience. Adapt to them and

    check your assumptions.
  61. Treat your audience with kindness and compassion. • Leaving early

    is fine. • Looking at a phone or laptop is fine. • Fiddling and fidgeting is fine. • It’s not about you.
  62. Speak clearly and slowly. Don’t cover your mouth.

  63. Use simple and clear language. Define terms and acronyms.

  64. Harmful language to avoid: • Gender essentialism • Ableism •

    Microaggressions • “I don’t know how to pronounce this, but”
  65. Pause often. Give people time to absorb, think, and take

    notes.
  66. Cover all displayed text, not necessarily word-for-word.

  67. Describe your visuals. • If you included it and it’s

    not just decorative, describe it. • Consider what’s important. • All images and gifs, too. • Communicate emotional content, as well.
  68. Describe your visuals. • If you don’t think the image

    is worth describing, then consider if you really need it. • Images can be engaging, but also distracting.
  69. Interpret graphs and charts. Share the key information verbally.

  70. Avoid spatial words. • No “this”, “that”, or “here.” •

    “This is our agenda.” • “Do you agree with that?” • “You can submit feedback there.” • “This person in front”
  71. Repeat audience questions into your microphone.

  72. 1. Why present? 2. Before you commit 3. Preparing your

    talk 4. Slide design 5. The day of your talk 6. During your talk 7. Taking care of yourself
  73. Accept it when you make a mistake. You’re not perfect,

    and that’s okay.
  74. If you mess up, it’s a learning experience. If you

    hurt someone, apologize.
  75. Accept that audience members might have conflicting needs. • Eye

    contact • Amount of info on slides • Color contrast
  76. Give yourself the space and the time you need to

    succeed.
  77. Making this a safe and accessible experience for you matters

    too!
  78. Solicit feedback in a healthy way.

  79. My goal: • Did someone laugh? • Did someone learn

    something?
  80. Fen Slattery they/them fenslattery.com @sublimemarch