Open Letter to Slideshare

Dear Slideshare,

I have been a user of your service for a few years now. I enjoying sharing slide presentations, following other authors, and having the option to add audio. And last year, your move to HTML5 from Flash was great. But there are some behaviors which are quite poor and have needed improvement for some time now, as outlined below. Note that my experiences are mostly with PowerPoint files.

1. The slide notes are not rendered whatsoever. The notes can often times be very valuable. Here’s a related tweet from Sarah Bourne.

2. In my latest upload, images and text on several slides did not show up. I even edited and re-uploaded the file in an attempt to fix the issue. To resolve the matter, I resorted to posting the slides to Google Drive/Docs, and promoted that URL instead.

3. The auto-generated text transcript is very poor. The transcript is very important, particularly for accessibility. Specific items which can be improvement:

3.1 The owner is unable to edit or delete the generated transcript. Even with a Pro account it is not possible, as tweeted by Derek Featherstone.

3.2 The outline rendering is non-existent. Even when slides have proper bullet and number outlines, the transcript generates no structure, just one big text blurb.

3.3 Alternative text of images not present in transcript. For images in my PPT files, I add alternative text in the appropriate field. That text doesn’t appear in the transcript.

3.4 In the transcript, the footer text in the slide master is output at the end of the content for every single slide! This reduces legibility.

Please improve your application, Slideshare. There are many other slide sharing services people can use (such as SlideSnack and SlideBoom), and the improvements above will surely set you apart from the competition, as well as win over many of us in the accessibility community.

Sincerely,

Dennis E. Lembree
Web Axe author

8 comments

  1. Tina

    Fantastic – thank you for addressing the accessibility issue which is so very important. Let’s hope they follow through!

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