Accessibility for Camera-Ready Papers

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As a leading venue for published research on NLP/CL, it is important that we as a community do our best effort to make ACL 2020 papers accessible to our colleagues with disabilities. Here are some suggestions to consider when preparing your camera-ready paper (and supplementary material):

  1. Use high resolution images for your visuals, so that they remain clear even if the reader zooms in. If your figures incorporate text, use fonts and font sizes that are legible. Using text color with sufficient contrast against its background color also makes the text more readable. You can use Contrast Checker to check for different foreground/background color combinations that may be preferable.

  2. Visuals should be interpretable in grayscale for broader accessibility. If you do use colors to convey information, try using a color palette that is inclusive of readers with color blindness. Many popular visualization libraries provide easy-to-use colorblind-friendly palettes (e.g., seaborn or bokeh for Python, ggplot2 for R). You could also use Color Oracle to check how your images will appear to readers with impaired color vision.

  3. Some researchers interface with computers using screen readers. For a screen reader to be able to read your paper PDF effectively, it should be “tagged” with the underlying logical structure, reading order, etc. While there are applications like Adobe Acrobat Pro that can be used to review a PDF for accessibility and may help resolve some issues automatically, the process requires some manual effort such as adding alternate texts for your visuals (simplified instructions here: Accessible PDF Author Guide; also viewable as a video with captions here: video guide to making accessible PDFs). If you have access to such software, we encourage you to use it to make your PDFs accessible.

  4. When using such software to add alternate texts for visuals in your PDF, consider that alternate texts are meant to convey through text what the visuals are conveying, thereby making those visuals accessible to screen reader users. They should highlight the aspects of the visuals that are salient to the paper, rather than merely describing the visuals or repeating their captions. Adding alternate texts applies to all visuals used in your paper, including tables, charts, images, and diagrams.

  5. If your paper has a voiced supplementary video, please add captions to the video so that it is accessible for deaf or hard of hearing researchers. Various free options exist online to accomplish this, some of which are outlined here: free resources for captioning videos.

  6. If your paper discusses accessibility issues or refers to people with disabilities, please consult the ACM SIGACCESS Accessible Writing Guide for guidelines.

Thank you for helping to make your papers more accessible to all readers. If you have follow-up questions, please send an email to with “Accessibility Subcommittee” in the subject line.

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