2006 Conference General Sessions

Go to previous article
Go to next article
Return to 2006 Table of Contents


Presenter #1
Greg Kraus
LecShare, Inc.
P.O. Box 1119
Day Phone: 919.934.3810
Email: greg@lecshare.com

LecShare allows Windows and Macintosh users to create accessible HTML from Microsoft PowerPoint.  A demonstration of LecShare will be given by a company representative.

Many instructors and presenters rely heavily on Microsoft PowerPoint for the preparation and delivery of their lectures, and PowerPoint has become ubiquitous in the field of presentations.  PowerPoint offers many powerful and easy to use tools that allow for great flexibility and creativity in the designing of presentations.

Despite the many benefits Microsoft PowerPoint offers, it also introduces certain hurdles to creating content that is truly accessible to everyone and creating web based content that meets Section 508 standards and the WCAG.

The Problems

* In PowerPoint, alternate text for images must be added manually for each image in a presentation.  The user is never prompted for this information and there is no convenient way to check that alternate text has actually been entered for every image.  Alternate text is not even available on the Macintosh version of Microsoft PowerPoint.

* Charts and tables do not present the underlying data when PowerPoint is exported to HTML

* Screen readers will read the items on a slide in the order in which they were created on the slide, not necessarily from top to bottom and from left to right.  The read order of a slide is next to impossible for the average user to determine.  Presenters cannot ensure the order in which people using assistive technologies will read the slide.

* The file sizes of some PowerPoint files reach over 80MB, making them very difficult to distribute over the Internet.  PowerPoint does not have a way to automatically reduce the sizes of images as they are imported, and sometimes still cannot compress files to a degree that makes them easily deliverable over the Web.

The Solution

LecShare provides tools that allow both Windows and Macintosh users to create HTML files from their PowerPoint presentations that meet Section 508 accessibility standards and the guidlelines set out by the WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative).  In addition, LecShare files can be quickly delivered to virtually any device connected to the Internet, no matter the connection speed.  LecShare allows users to:

* Add Alternate Text (alt tags, d-links, or null tags) to any image in PowerPoint, including PowerPoint files on Macintosh computers;

* Instantly check to see if any alternate text is missing from any image in the whole presentation.

* Extract data from charts and graphs and present the data in standard HTML tables

* Put the proper heading and scope tags in tables;

* Easily see and rearrange the order a screen reader will read the items on a slide;

* Create much smaller files by converting images and slides to the JPEG format;

* Ensure that each slide has a proper title so the Table of Contents won’t be a list of “Slide 1, Slide 2, Slide 3, etc.”;

* Put transcripts or notes in the Lecturer’s Notes section of PowerPoint and have those appear with every page of a PowerPoint presentation.

LecShare outputs a set of web pages that use HTML and CSS.  The content and structure are kept completely separate, so customized style sheets can be used to have complete control over the way a web page displays.

In addition, LecShare can also export images of the slides into Microsoft Word documents for presenters to distribute.  A person attending a lecture could load the Microsoft Word document on his or her laptop and take notes directly in Word right next to the images of the slides.  No more having to take hand notes on the 3 or 6 slides per page that PowerPoint creates!

One of the great benefits of LecShare is that you no longer have to have two versions of a presentation: one for “regular” web pages and one which meets accessibility standards.  LecShare produces a single output that is both functional and appealing to everyone.  Again, you can completely customize the layout of the pages by using the built in layout settings or by using your own css file.

LecShare takes the world’s most popular presentation software and allows it to be shared with and accessible to everyone.  The goal of LecShare is to meet lecturers at their skill level – not to make them master an entire new set of skills (HTML, CSS, Section 508 standards, etc.).  Making accessible web-based PowerPoint presentations is now within the reach of any lecturer.

Go to previous article
Go to next article
Return to 2006 Table of Contents

Reprinted with author(s) permission. Author(s) retain copyright