The Pearson Guidelines & PowerPoint
Update: PowerPoint techniques have now been added to the Pearson Guidelines.
When creating PowerPoint presentations to post on the Web or for use on a projector, follow the Pearson Guidelines. The guidelines on keyboard access, color, audio, video, text contrast, and motion all apply to PowerPoint. For screen reader access issues, the Pearson Guidelines also apply, but you or your vendor will likely need some additional guidance. We have found that much of the advice on the Web on this subject is incomplete and/or misleading. We recommend following WebAIM's overview of PowerPoint accessibility, which explains how to add alt-text, maintain semantic markup and verify reading order.
Additional Universal Design Requirement for PowerPoint
A key principle of universal design in the classroom is to provide lecture notes in advance of the class in a fully accessible format, such as HTML that conforms to the Pearson Guidelines. This is helpful for students with variety of disabilities that might prevent them from quickly copying all of the information, as well as for giving all students more opportunity to focus on the class.
In addition, due to limitations of PowerPoint itself, we can't make all PowerPoint files fully accessible for all users on all platforms.
So, when providing PowerPoint files for use by instructors, make the PowerPoint file as accessible as possible and then also provide an HTML version of the slides, which instructors can direct students to in advance of the class. The article from WebAIM (mentioned above) provides details on creating the HTML version. While there are tools that export from PowerPoint to HTML, we have not found any that we particularly recommend, and would encourage you to create your own basic HTML pages for this purpose.
If you'd like to share your HTML slide template with the Pearson community, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll post it here (with password protection if needed).