Making ICML Papers and Talks Accessible

In order to ensure that as many people as possible can participate in the conference and read your paper, everyone is expected to make their talks and papers accessible. Below are expectations around each.


There are many great guides to making accessible talks; we advise everyone to consider all the points made in the W3C Guide, the ACM guide, and the RECSYS guide. In particular, we would like to highlight the following items:

  1. Keep your slides with minimal text, use large fonts, use bold for emphasis, and avoid special text effects (eg shadows).
  2. Choose high contrast colors; dark text on a cream background works best.
  3. Avoiding flashing text or graphics.
  4. Choose color palettes that provide better color accessibility (see Usabilla for details) and do not rely on color to convey a message.
  5. Use examples that are understandable to a diverse, multicultural audience; avoid examples or imagery that are of a sexual, racial, or otherwise offensive nature.
  6. When speaking, do not assume that all audience members can see the slides: cover everything important in what you say, even if it's already on the slide.



Like your talk, having an accessible paper means that your work can be enjoyed by the broadest possible audience. We encourage all authors to take to heart all the advice from SIG ACCESS. In particular, we would like to highlight the following items:

  1. Create figures that are high contrast, with color palettes that are accessible (again, see Usabilla for details), and that do not rely on color to convey a message.
  2. Ensure that fonts are sufficiently large, especially in figures. The font size in figures should be no smaller than the font size of the caption of the figure.
  3. Ensure that the PDF of your paper is accessible per the SIG ACCESS guide. This means in particular:
    1. Check that all fonts are embedded on the PDF.
    2. Set the title and language for the PDF.
    3. Add tags to the PDF.
    4. Add alternative text for figures.
    5. Set the tab order for the PDF.
    6. Mark table headers in the PDF.

We will check all papers for compliance with these requirements. They should not take very long (likely no more than an hour) but you should be sure to budget time to accomplish them, particularly if you are not used to going through these steps.