How can I create a conference poster that is accessible to people with disabilities?

Date Updated

Many conferences, both on-site and online, offer opportunities for researchers and practitioners to present their work. There are steps you can take to make your poster accessible to conference participants who have disabilities. The following tips apply to both on-site and online posters.

  • Use clear, consistent layouts and organization schemes to present content.
  • Provide information in multiple ways (e.g., use a combination of text, images, graphs, and tables).
  • Use plain English, spell out acronyms, define terms, avoid or define jargon. 
  • Use color combinations that are high contrast and can be distinguished by those who are colorblind.
  • Keep text concise and graphics and tables simple.
  • Use large, bold, sans serif fonts on plain backgrounds.
  • Provide adequate white space, avoid clutter, and visually highlight sections with borders, colored headings, and white space.
  • Share with participants a concise description of the major points in the content of the poster.
  • Feature a tiny url or QR code that links to more information on the research being presented and an accessible, downloadable version of the poster.
  • Caption or title images.
  • Consider suggesting questions that people might want to ask (e.g., "Ask me about ...").

If your poster session is only electronic, there are additional tips for making your presentation accessible to people with disabilities.

  • Use accessibility tools and guidelines within the creation product you are using (e.g., PowerPoint) to develop the poster.
  • Use a text-based format and structure hierarchical headings, lists, and tables using style and formatting features of the creation product you are using; use built-in page layouts when available.
  • Provide concise alternative text descriptions of content presented within images, graphs, and tables.
  • Avoid creating PDF documents, unless you invest the time to learn how to design them in an accessible manner.
  • If a video presentation is available along with the poster, be sure that it is captioned and that all key content is spoken aloud.