Accessibility Guidelines for All Presenters

Please follow all of these guidelines when preparing your posters and presentations for our conference. These guidelines are required in order to ensure that the materials we create are as accessible as we can make them for people with various disabilities, poor internet connections, or whose primary language is not spoken English. They also make the documents more decipherable and navigable for everyone. If you have questions or concerns about meeting these guidelines, please contact

We have created written and video tutorials for preparing PDFs that meet these guidelines for those who prepare their materials in Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint, which can be found below. You are free to use programs other than Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint, as long as the resulting PDFs meet these accessibility guidelines.

We appreciate your support in making this conference as accessible as possible!


In order to make all text as readable as possible, please use Arial font. The minimum suggested font size is 12 pts. Line spacing should be between 1.15 and 2.


Avoid distracting backgrounds on posters and slides. Additionally, all graphs and charts should use textures, patterns, or colorblind-accessible palettes to create meaningful contrast. This means that color should mainly be used for non-essential information—no charts or graphs should rely on distinguishing between red, green, and blue, for example. Note that charts and graphs are not required; however, if you do decide to include charts and/or graphs, use the following tips to make them accessible.

In the example above, the chart on the left is inaccessible to red-blind people, but the chart on the right uses two different patterns to distinguish between the two countries.

Above is an acceptable chart. Although this chart does use red and green, a suboptimal combination, the chart can be interpreted without making the red/green distinction. However, even better would be to add a texture to one of the colors for additional clarity, or to use blue/orange instead.

Color-blind accessible palettes use different color values (light vs. dark) and not just different color hues (red vs. green) as well as limiting the number of colors used. Blue is a good color to use, too, because it is perceived as blue by non-colorblind people, people with red-blindness, and people with green-blindness, and it appears as teal to those with blue-blindness. Blue and orange/red are a good color combination that will be highly contrastive to everyone. If you need more than two colors, again, varying the color value is key. Yellow can be a good color for this because most preferred shades of yellow are light. 

Below are some examples of colorblind-accessible color palettes. If you are using a program that can copy colors from other documents with a color dropper, then using that color dropper tool to mimic one of these palettes would be an effective strategy; but the important thing is that the colors have different values and lean towards colors that are visible to everyone (such as the aforementioned blue and orange).

The image above shows a colorblind-accessible palette on the far left, with examples of what the palette will look like to red-blind people, green-blind people, and blue-blind people, from left to right. As the image illustrates, the different color values used here make the contrasts visible to everyone.

These three palettes were developed by IBM Design Library, Bang Wong, and Paul Tol, from top to bottom. All three are color-blind friendly.

The two images above are color palettes designed by Paul Tol to accommodate colorblindness.

Simplified Copy

If you know that your poster is going to have a busy background, use a lot of colors, use a different font, or otherwise be difficult to read, please create a simplified version of your poster that meets these guidelines.

PDF-Specific Requirements

PDFs can be a challenge for screen readers unless they meet certain requirements. The text should be searchable and the document language should be specified.

You can check if your PDF is searchable by opening the PDF and typing CTRL + F. This will bring up the Find box. Try typing a word into that search box that you know appears in the document, preferably a word that appears multiple times. If the word cannot be found, then the PDF is not searchable.

Finally, you can specify the language of the document in Adobe if you go to File, then Properties. In the pop-up window, go to Advanced and then you will be able to specify the language of the document. If you cannot change the document language, don’t worry about it, but please let us know when you submit it.

Please see our written or video tutorials for instructions on how to make text searchable.

Converting presentations to PDFs

Creating an accessible PDF out of a Google Slides presentation

To create a searchable PDF out of a Google Slides presentation, open the document you would like to convert on Google Drive, and from the top menu, select File > Download.

Another menu will drop down with different file formats, including PDF. (This is also the menu from which you can select Plain Text if you need a simplified format). Once you click “PDF Document (.pdf)”, the file will be saved in your “Downloads” folder automatically.

The PDF format that Google Slides creates is a searchable PDF as a default, but to check, you can open your PDF and press CTRL + F to bring up the “Find” field. Type a word into this field which appears in your document (preferably one that occurs multiple times). Instances of the word should be highlighted in the document. If the word cannot be found, then the PDF is not searchable.

Our video for turning Google Slides into accessible PDFs is also on our YouTube Channel, under the title “Turning Google Slides into a searchable PDF – ICLDC Accessibility Team

Creating a searchable text PDF from PowerPoint 

To create a searchable text PDF from a PowerPoint document, open the document you  would like to convert, and from the top menu, select File > Save As… 

A menu will drop down with a “Save As” field for the title of your document. Below this is  another drop-down menu where you can select the file folder location where you want  the PDF document to be saved. Make sure the correct folder is selected, so that you  can find the PDF once it is created. 

At the bottom of the Save As… drop-down menu, there is a field called “File Format.” (This field may be called “Save As Type” if you are using a PC device). The default  format will be PowerPoint Presentation. Click on this to open another drop-down menu  where you can select format options, and select PDF from the list of formats. (This is  also the menu from which you can select Plain Text if you need a simplified format). 

Once you have selected PDF format, click “Save” in the bottom right corner, and a PDF  version of your document will be saved in the file folder you selected. You can then  close your PowerPoint document. The PDF format that PowerPoint creates is a  searchable PDF as a default, but to check, you can open your PDF and press CTRL + F  to bring up the “Find” field. Type a word into this field which appears in your document  (preferably one that occurs multiple times). Instances of the word should be highlighted  in the document. If the word cannot be found, then the PDF is not searchable.

Our video tutorial on turning Microsoft PowerPoints into accessible PDFs can be found on the ICLDC YT channel with the title “Turning a Powerpoint into a searchable PDF – ICLDC Accessibility Team.

Video-Specific Requirements

Videos should be captioned in the language used in the video. Captioning in additional languages would be appreciated but is not required. We have a video tutorial on this, too. You can find it on our ICLDC YouTube channel, with the title “Uploading to YouTube and Adding Captions | ICLDC 8.”

Presenting at ICLDC

When presenting at ICLDC, it’s best to speak slowly and clearly for the benefit of both the auto-captioning and any interpreters or transcribers who might be in the room.

Naming the Document

Please label any materials submitted to the conference with the last names of all the researchers, separated by underscores.

Example: LastName_(s)_Year

So a PDF of this document would be named:


We Appreciate Your Support!

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for helping to make our conference accessible to as many people as possible!

Additional Resources

If you wish to know more, check the websites below:

Learn more about 5 tips on designing colorblind-friendly visualizations here.

Learn about Adobe’s PDF file format accessibility features here

Learn more about creating accessible visual data for colorblind readers here

Learn more about color schemes and templates here

Learn more about coloring for colorblindness here.Learn how to make a PDF text-searchable here.