Updated March 20, 2020: The Global DH Symposium will be an all virtual event in 2020, so the information below will not apply to presentations this year in the same way as originally expected. However, presenters are still expected to take all reasonable steps to make their presentations accessible. Considering that the virtual event will involve people joining via audio only or through a livestream with limited connectivity, presenters should:

  • speak at a measured speed – with auditory challenges and connectivity issues, as well as the global nature of the event, speaking a bit slower will allow more people to follow along
  • describe your slides – rely on visual information from your slides as little as possible since some attendees will join with audio only or need to turn off video for connectivity reasons; these reasons build on accessibility measures we already recommend for people with low to no vision

Information about the technology plan for the virtual event is available, along with detailed information about how to use Zoom, how to use Google Meet and Discord in case Zoom fails, and how to post your slides, talk, etc in the Humanities Commons group for the Symposium.

Presentation length:

  • Lightning talk presentations (including former poster presenters) are 7 minutes long (not including Q&A)
  • Paper presentations are 18 minutes long (not including Q&A)
  • The “Collaborative Pedagogy” and “Students as Knowledge Producers” panels have 45 minutes each (including Q&A)
  • Keynote presenters have 60 minutes (usually that translates to a 40 minute presentation plus 20 minutes of questions)

The Global Digital Humanities Symposium is committed to providing equal access to the event all presenters and attendees. We request that all conference presenters ensure their presentations are as accessible as possible.


To ensure visual accessibility of slides, please use at least 24pt sans serif fonts (Arial, Verdana, Helvetica) on your slides and avoid large blocks of text.  Any videos played during presentations should be captioned and audio described.

Do not use color as the only method for distinguishing information or use a color-blindness simulator to ensure that your color scheme is accessible to all viewers. Make sure that there is a high degree of contrast between the color of text and the color of the background of a slide, e.g. black text on a white background, light grey text on a black background, dark blue text on a light blue background, etc. Stark white text on black background is best avoided due to fuzzing and halation. Please also avoid rapidly flashing or strobing lights in slideshow special effects.

This webinar by Yue-Ting Siu provides a thorough guide to making accessible conference presentations.


To ensure maximum accessibility for conference presentations, all presenters must use the microphones provided for both presentations and Q&A. For lightning talk presenters, you will use the podium microphone. For other presenters, we have a wireless microphone that we will clip to your clothing, or you may use the podium microphone. If you are using the podium mic, please be mindful of where you are standing so you don’t wander too far way.  The optimal position for a microphone is generally 3-6” from your mouth, depending on your natural voice volume and the configuration of the microphone.

Wireless microphones will be circulated through the audience for questions. If audience members are unable to use the microphone for any reason, either the moderator or the presenter should repeat (or briefly rephrase) the question into a microphone before answering it.


One way to greatly enhance the accessibility of your presentation is to make your slides or a transcript of your talk available to the audience. If you share your slides or transcript via a printout, please increase the font size on the print-outs to at least 18pt and use a sans serif font (Arial, Verdana, Helvetica).

If you share your slides via a link, please make sure that you have used the “alt text” feature on any images in your slideshow. Similarly, if you share your transcript via a link and have turned it into a PDF or any other format that does not allow the easy manipulation of font size, please increase the font size to at least 18pt and use a sans serif font (Arial, Verdana, Helvetica).

 For more information about specific accommodations and accommodation requests, please email us at dh@msu.edu.

Adapted from the ACH 2019 presentation guidelines.