Microsoft vs Google: A Comparison of Accessibility Features in Documents and Slides

Handouts Media

Presented at 10:30am in Penrose 1 on Friday, November 10, 2023.

#38573

Speaker(s)

  • Terrill Thompson, Manager, IT Accessibility Team, University of Washington
  • Gaby de Jongh, Document Accessibility Specialist, University of Washington
  • Hadi Rangin, IT Accessibility Specialist, U

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference

Summary

In Summer 2023, the presenters conducted extensive testing to compare Microsoft Word with Google Docs, and Microsoft PowerPoint with Google Slides, on accessibility features available in the final products delivered by these tools. They also tested how well accessibility features were supported by various screen readers, and whether accessibility features survived when documents were exported between formats or to PDF. This session will explore the findings from this project.

Abstract

In Summer 2023, the presenters conducted extensive testing to compare Microsoft Word with Google Docs, and Microsoft PowerPoint with Google Slides, on accessibility features available in the final products delivered by these tools.

They created a single test document that included a variety of features that are commonly observed in documents in higher education. They created multiple versions of the test document, using various versions of Microsoft Word (desktop and online) and Google Docs (with and without Grackle Docs).

They also created a test slide deck that included a variety of features that are commonly observed in slides, using various versions of Microsoft PowerPoint (desktop and online) and Google Slides (with and without Grackle Slides).

In all documents and slides, they utilized the accessibility features that are available within the platform being tested.

They then tested all documents and slides with a variety of screen readers (JAWS, NVDA, Narrator, and VoiceOver and MacOS) to determine how well the accessibility features were supported.

Finally, they exported files between the various formats, as well as to PDF, and inspected the exported files to determine whether the accessibility features had survived.

This session will explore the findings from this project, and discuss implications for higher education.

Keypoints

  1. Microsoft and Google products vary in their support for important accessibility features.
  2. Screen readers vary in their support for accessibility best practices.
  3. Accessibility features are sometimes lost when exporting from one file format to another.

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Terrill Thompson

Terrill Thompson is manager of the IT Accessibility Team at the University of Washington.

Gaby de Jongh

Gaby de Jongh is Document Accessibility Specialist with the University of Washington.

Hadi Rangin

Hadi Rangin is IT accessibility specialist with University of Washington.

Handout(s)