Article Series Summary
- PowerPoint’s design ideas feature is great, but it can worsen the accessibility of your content. It may recommend these behaviours that can exclude members of your potential audience:
- PowerPoint’s accessibility checker often ignores these issues or does not check for them at all.
- In this article we explain why this is important and how to fix it.
PowerPoint’s Design Ideas feature helps us create attractive slides quickly. Unfortunately, some of its suggestions do not follow accessibility best practice, creating barriers that may exclude members of your audience. In this blog post we explain one of these issues and how to fix it. The examples shown here use the default PowerPoint template but are likely to occur whichever template you use.
Upper case text
- Text in all caps can present a barrier to readers with dyslexia. Moreover, it slows down reading speed for all.
- Writing text in all capitals looks unprofessional. Many consider it shouting when used online.
- Design ideas will sometimes present text in all caps.
- It’s easy to remediate.
Why is the case you choose to present text important?
The British Dyslexia Association recommend avoiding text in all uppercase/capital letters. This can be less familiar to the reader and harder to read. When we write sentences, we should use “Sentence Case” and not uppercase. A screen reader may read out uppercase text letter by letter. This can be confusing and disruptive to the listener. It can be a challenge to those with an impairment or specific learning difference. Furthermore, usability expert Jakob Nielsen has found that reading on screen can be around 25% slower than reading from paper and reading upper case text can be a further 10% slower.
What does Design Ideas do?
Some of the options presented by Design Ideas turn text into uppercase. The Office accessibility checker does not check for text in uppercase. If you like a design that has text in all caps, follow these steps to fix it.
What about the Accessibility Checker?
Currently, text in all capital letters is not within the ruleset of the Accessibility Checker.
How can you fix it?
- In PowerPoint, select the frame that holds the content design ideas has adjusted. While you could select each text box individually, selecting the frame means you will change all the text boxes at the same time.
- Select the Change Case button.
- Choose Sentence Case.
Following the above steps will change the text from uppercase to sentence case.
Want to learn more?
- Dyslexia friendly style guide.
- Writing readable content (and why All Caps is so hard to read).
- Why letter casing is important to consider during design decisions.
- All Caps on UI: Good or Bad?
- Why Text in All Caps Is Hard for Users to Read
- Why ALL CAPS Is Usually a Bad Idea
Read the other articles in this series
PowerPoint’s design ideas feature is great, but it can worsen the accessibility of your content. It may recommend these behaviours that can exclude members of your potential audience:
PowerPoint’s Design Ideas feature is a marvellous innovation. It makes slide design quick, simple, and within reach of anyone. Currently, it introduces three issues that can exclude members of your audience. The tips we shared in this post make these issues simple to resolve. If you see these issues in your colleagues’ presentations, send them this article so they will know what to do.
Over to you!
Add your comments, questions, and reflections below. Did we get something wrong? Have an important tip to share? Let us know.