Prezi needs to address Disability Access - It's the law

It seems to me that the day you Prezi announces a truly accessible option they could seemingly be rewarded with numerous site wide educational licenses. Particularly with MOOC’s on the rise and online education booming.

I can’t imagine the investment dollars aren’t out there to outfit a team of propeller heads and innovators to crack this nut. Please? Thumbs up!

I just did a presentation about an accessible technology with Prezi, but I can’t share it with the accessibility community without making a mockery of my own content. I’m eagerly awaiting upgrades to Prezi for this purpose.

Hi Ron. Thanks for updating us! I’m glad to hear Prezi is getting some more information on accessibility and possibly revisiting the issue. Thanks for working to advance the cause!

And, just so you know, I too feel very insecure about my expertise when I do accessibility presentations. I know exactly how you feel! But I figure, every little bit helps.

Hi, I am Anita van Boxtel of the expertise centre on studying with disabilities in the Netherlands. A few weeks ago I made my first Prezi because I thought a Prezi could improve the accessibility of a presentation for (for instance) students with AD(H)D, dyslexia and autism ( if you don’t use the twirling-around-functions to much :-)). I quite liked it.

Until I met a blind disability officer who was using a screenreader. He couldn’t even get into the texts of the Prezi, let alone ‘see’ the images. After making two prezi’s I already set the program aside. I don’t want to promote inaccessible tools to the teachers we coach and train.

It is a pity that my organisation has to tell teachers who are already using the software that they shouldn’t unless they make an extra presentation or an audio description aside of it.

Please make some tool to make a Prezi easily accessible, because the teachers in the Netherlands are to busy to do something extra for students with special needs.

Just finished my presentation for a key note to a ‘Specialist colleges Conference’ to be told that Prezzi doesn’t comply with Accessibility legislation. So back to PowerPoint - really frustrated that there is no export to PowerPoint option, at least that would cover providing the presentation in different formats - wont be using Prezzi again!

What is the current state of screen reader development that might make it possible someday to read a wider variety of web content, like Prezi?

I think most screen readers handle HTML 5 quite well. Flash can also be accessible if actual text and descriptions are used instead of unlabeled images or polygons. However, I think that liaising directly with developers like GWMicro (WindowEyes) and Freedom Scientific (JAWS) as well as the developers of NVDA should enable coverage of most of the Screen Readers market. At we test ICT for accessibility on a regular basis and can confirm that developers who follow WCAG2 standards and carry out necessary accessibility audits not only cater for a wider spectrum of users but improve the quality of their products in the process.

Hi Sparkle,
It is not a matter of screen reader software improving, it is a matter of Prezi structuring and marking its content in a way that matches the international standards for accommodation software. The standards have existed for quite a while, and software meeting those standards gives structured content in a way that can be read, understood, and acted upon by any of a host of alternative display software.

  • Scott Standifer

Good Point, Scott - there are various (but not a huge number) of screen readers, screen magnifiers, and speech recognition applications. Theoretically, if one codes a website or program to standars (Section 508, WCAG, etc.), then it should work with most, established assistive technology products (but that theory really does need to be put to the test).

Prezi should test for AT compatibility, after manual testing and remediation, with programs such as JAWS, Window-Eyes, MAGic, ZoomText, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, etc. Both forms of testing are important - standards testing and AT-compatibility testing - and the latter should be done by persons with disabilities who use those AT products, not able-bodied persons who ‘dabble’ in AT.

Developing to standardized interface code is a current minimum benchmark to approximate (not assure) accessibility to the broadest audience possible. Lets remember, users are a fickle group and there are no “Token users.” Chest beating about accessibility may make us feel good but truly designing for all is much more useful.

There is in fact an approach to creating an accessible format of a Prezi, though it takes more work and know how on the part of the designer. But then again, designing for universal accessibility always takes more work on the part of the designer. People matter and that work is worthwhile. Until a designer (You and me) have optimized their workflow, their knowledge of how to use the tools, and their deep understanding of environmental forces affecting the user experience, designing usable experiences for all users, isn’t likely to happen no matter the medium.

So, to create something accessible to screen readers from a Prezi, download the slides as PDF, open the pdf in Acrobat and structure it (tags and so forth). This requires knowing how to structure a PDF. All materials designers should know how to structure documents in PDF, but they don’t because its more work.

You will notice too that other design problems show up, like voice over narration. In fact, if I am presenting to blind users, doesn’t it make more sense for me to record an audio version of my presentation as one of other dissemination options, taking into account that not all listeners will interact with the graphic elements in the same way? This then begets thinking through how to communicate data elements for analysis in non visual formats. A task that takes thinking and skills most presenters don’t typically consider or translate well.

Another interesting issue relates to self directed Prezi, like any self directed presentation, it requires different design considerations. Now, before you go all happy dancing about how PowerPoint accomplishes accessibility for the self directed user, you need to realize you can botch the accessibility of a PowerPoint or a Word document as easily as you can a Prezi. Making it inaccessible out of the gate, even though materials designers think that because its a powerpoint etc. it must be accessible. It isn’t unless you make it so. How many of you reading this now know what is actually required in the design of a PowerPoint or Word document to assure it is broadly accessible to a screen reader or mobile text to speech software? If you don’t know, its pretty much a given that your PP’s and .docs are not well designed.

Simply publishing a PowerPoint or a Word document in no way confers accessibility per 508 or anything else. Designing documents to be universally accessible requires the designer to know what they are doing, why its important to every user and how each design venue requires different considerations (eg. live, online, print, audio etc). I suspect the majority of the folks complaining about your use of Prezi, and it’s inaccessibility are half enjoying their “one up” on you when they really have little idea what they are talking about. In fact, most of the PowerPoints at said conference where likely no more accessible than this email being read through the back of your computer screen.

I support ongoing advocacy to increase accessible design tools. It makes good sense to keep up the requests that Prezi continually improve software affordances that allow each of us to take the time required to design our presentations for broad audiences, aka accessibly. It should be noted however, that screen reader access is but one of a host of user driven access points that deserve consideration. Also, chest beating about accessibility without constructive dialogue about how to achieve it isn’t useful. Its like an annoying picket line where the picketers hardly know what they are talking about.

If you don’t know how to make your presentations accessible in any format, don’t squawk about the accessibility of Prezi (I direct that comment to a plurality not anyone specifically). Chances are nothing you present is accessible to screen readers, even though you think it is. Besides, if I never planned to publish my presentation online or in a self directed format, why the heck can’t I stand up in front of an audience and use Prezi, or a flip chart for that matter? The design concerns of access and usability differ per forces of venue and synchronous vs asynchronous.

So, I suggest its better to advocate to each designer that they learn what they need to do to design accessible materials. Rather than simple go to some column of accessible vs inaccessible tools and choose the one that says accessible. Unless they know how to design for accessibility its a moot point.

Accessible PowerPoint Guide (Notice the effort required)…

Accessible Word Documents… (How many of you consistently use style to structure a document)

Accessible PDF… (With InDesign)…

And finally, accessible documents is important to us all. I explain why in in the next paragraph. Unfortunately I’ve included the answer using the emperor’s font. Good luck accessing it.

:slight_smile: Hope this helps.

Warm regards,


I agree completely. Software accessibility only gives us the tools to make our materials accessible - it is up to us to actually use the tools. And it is usually very easy to mess up the accessibility if you don’t learn the tools. Thanks for all the excellent points you raised and the links to good resources.

  • Scott Standifer

Hello all,
  I am just wondering if Prezi has addressed this problem (don’t being ADA compliant) since the last post was two years ago. Thanks!

-Jamie Pond

If they did I am not aware.  If it becomes accessible it would be a great tool.  If it remained inaccessible it would force us to do twice the work.  At the moment we cannot afford even to check it out for accessibility enhancements.

I do that Prezi is still used, to some degree, in federal agencies, but I couldn’t say how much.  once my new Accessibility Testing Lab is set up, with all new assistive technology, maybe i’ll do some testing - with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, JAWS, NVDA, etc.

Vera, at which stage is Prezi of making it Section 508-conformant? (not sure what “accessibility compliant” means, the DoJ says that the ADA does cover the Internet but there are not ADA-specific standards, and Section 508 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973).

  • No Status
  • Not planned
  • Under consideration
  • Planned
  • Implemented

As many Universities are adopting to the new standards we are strongly encouraging faculty to no longer use Prezi because we have to use software that is accessible to ALL. Not including accessibility on the front end will be a huge mistake as more faculty members (and their respective students) will no longer be able to use this site because it’s in violation and universities want to avoid lawsuits.  Accessibility should no be an afterthought or something you get around to when you have the time!  Think all of your users on the front end!

based on comments posted here and elsewhere it seems requests for ADA compliance and decent/ full accessibility have been here for quite a while now. Ignoring momentarily the apparent fact that accessibility was never a priority for prezi, has there been any progress in this area apart from future plans? maybe the head of product should man these forums or have a go using this product together with a person with low vision. I wish to clarify that I feel support staff here do an excellent job, but I am afraid developers are ignoring the feedback.

Trying to find the same capability to make my prezi accessible, I’ve come across your post (and the others) highlighting the need for a change. It’s now been five years since the original poster brought this problem to light and there have been no changes made. Without access as a priority, as you said, nothing will change. Hopefully, we will see a change for equal access in the near future! 

I have just read through this post thread with some dismay. I was recently advised that I have a hearing impaired student in a Unit I will be teaching at my university, and took some training in what is required to meet that student’s needs. I have used Prezi and very happily, for two years now, and have been promoting it to my colleagues as a valuable teaching medium.
The training made me realise that I would need to provide additional optional captioning to the prezi voiceovers - I thought this would be a reasonably simple matter.
It took a lot of searching to find any guidance at all, and eventually I got to this thread. It tells me that this issue was raised five years ago, and that nothing at all has been done to address it.
I am really disappointed in this. In Australia, as in many other parts of the world, universities are under legal obligation to ensure equal access to educational materials. Primary and secondary schools are the same.
I love prezi, and its many great features. But I will have stop using it, and revert to dreary powerpoints, which for all the faults of that medium allow me easily to insert notes with each slide, which can be made visible to students.
With respect, you have a great product, and I can understand how this issue may have been overlooked in initial development. But you have known of this issue for a long time now, and beyond a polite “we are not compliant, sorry” message nothing seems to have changed.
I appreciate that there are many demands on your company, and that I know nothing of software development except that it is hard and those doing it are always understaffed, but as others have mentioned, you are excluding your excellent product from very large and important markets so long as this remains the case. The solution does not need to be pretty, or elegant - just an option to call up additional captioning is needed.
Dr Richard Evans


Could you suggest another method that might help Prezi make progress on its accessibility? Our comments on this forum have apparently not done much good.