As I mentioned last week, I'm going to answer a few of the questions that were asked during the April 30 Web Coordinators Workshop every week until we get through the list.

This week I'm going to answer two more of the questions from the "parking lot" that we didn't have time to answer during the already busy afternoon. Here's what I'm going to cover: 

  • What do you do when you have a PowerPoint file to post? How do you make that accessible?
  • Should subheaders be used in text versions? 

What do you do when you have a PowerPoint file to post? How do you make that accessible?

Technically, PowerPoint files are not fully accessible. According to WebAim, PowerPoint files shouldn't be posted without an HTML equivalent—or, in other words, a text version.

Currently, EERE does not have any standards requiring that you include text versions with PowerPoint files. We are researching how these standards should be structured.

For now, you should include the talking points for every slide in the "notes" field for that slide. That is the minimum effort required. The ideal situation for PowerPoint files is to write a text version. This should include all the text on all the slides, and include a description of all the images.

PowerPoint Files with Accompanying Audio Files

If you record the audio portion of a presentation and want to post it along with your PowerPoint slides, the audio file must have a text version. It’s helpful to associate your audio file with the PowerPoint slides by noting, in the text version, which slide goes with what text. An example of this is the Webinar on EERE Web Content Standards (Text Version).

Should subheaders be used in text versions?

This suggestion came up during the presentation, and we thought it was such a great idea that we added it to the Text Version standards as a "best practice".

Text versions are designed to provide users with an alternative way of experiencing audio-heavy or visually-heavy content. Because of this, one of their purposes is to provide a description of multimedia files to visitors who use screen readers.

People using screen readers can use subheaders to jump up and down the content on a page. This can help them find the particular topic or section of the page that they are interested in reading. So if you have a very long text version, it's helpful to break it into sections or topics.