Poster Preparation & Accessibility Guidelines

I. Poster Creation & Upload

To create your poster, you will need to use software such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, Adobe InDesign, other professional software programs, or open source alternatives to these programs.

Whichever program you choose, ensure you can save your work as a PDF, and not as a JPG, GIF, or other similar image formats. All posters, in-person and virtual, are required to be uploaded into the Annual Meeting Virtual Platform as screen-reader-friendly PDFs. Image formats, even with alternative text and image descriptions, limit how screen-reader users may interact with the content of your work.

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II. Poster Content

  1. Each poster display should include your poster’s title and the presenter’s and possible coauthor’s:
    1. name(s)
    2. pronoun(s) (as comfortable)
    3. title(s)
    4. organization(s)
  2. Extensive, imaginative use of captioned illustrations, photographs, graphs or other types of visually appealing material is the point of a poster presentation. Think of your poster primarily as a visually engaging presentation of your work.
    • Note: While it is a visually engaging presentation of your work, also learn how to visually describe the visuals on your poster for session attendees who may be blind, low-vision, or better process visual information through verbal explanation.
  3. Rewrite the text from your paper into a brief version of your work so that the text will be more legible in a poster format.
    • Note: Directly copying and pasting the text of your paper into a “poster” will result in a text-heavy poster, which is a less effective approach and one that does not engage with the visual purpose of the poster.
  4. Consider headers as an additional way to organize and display your content.
    • Research posters generally have the following sections:
      • Introduction
      • Literature Review
      • Methods
      • Results
      • Discussion
      • Conclusion
    • Note: You are not confined to this pattern of content presentation. Use the structure and presentation that best fits your work, goals, poster, and style.

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1. Content Organization

  1. Avoid overcrowding your poster with text and other content.
    • Utilize the white and negative space for greater accessibility.
  2. Place your poster title on top of the page so it is easily visible.
  3. Ensure all headings and subheadings legibly align with their related text.
    • Note: Use the styles function in PowerPoint or your chosen program to automatically designate your heading and subheading levels (i.e., Heading Level 1, Heading Level 2, etc.)
  4. Make sure your introduction is clear, engages the audience, and provides a clear takeaway message for them.
  5. The content order should be placed to be read logically from one heading to the next.

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III. Poster Formatting

1. Poster Dimensions

  • Consider creating your poster using a 4×6 ratio.
  • For virtual posters, you should only have one slide for your poster. The dimensions can be what best work for your project, so long as your poster is provided in a PDF format.
  • For in-person posters, the useable surface of the AAA-provided display board is 4 ft high by 6 ft wide/1.2 m high by 1.8 m wide.
    • Please ensure your poster dimensions are within these measurements.

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2. Poster Text

  1. Font Size:
    • Avoid overcrowding your poster with text and getting close to or going below the minimum suggested font sizes below. Less is more!
    • Sizes will vary based on if you are preparing an in-person poster or a virtual poster.

In-Person Font Size

  • Title:
    • 158-point (2.2 inches) font is best practice.
    • 72-point font is the minimum.
    • Title should be viewable from 10 to 15 feet away to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Section Title:
    • 56-point (0.78 inches) font is best practice.
    • 46-point font is the minimum.
  • Block Text/Body:
    • 36-point (0.5 inches) font is best practice.
    • 24-point font is the minimum.

Virtual Font Size

  • Title:
    • 60-point font is recommended.
    • 40-point font is the minimum.
  • Section Title:
    • 36-point font is recommended.
    • 24-point font is the minimum.
  • Block Text/Body:
    • 24-point font is recommended.
    • 18-point font is the absolute minimum, including for subtext.

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  1. Font Type:
    • Use sans-serif (non-serif) fonts for your poster.
      • Examples of sans serif typefaces include:
        • Arial
        • Calibri
        • Helvetica
        • Verdana
    • Serif fonts, such as Times New Roman or Georgia, can be more difficult to read, particularly when they are more decorative, handwritten, or italicized.
    • Avoid italics and underlines. If you wish to emphasize text, bold the text.

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  1. Font Color:
    • Use black text on a white background for your text to be most legible.
    • In the case you want to use additional colors for your text on your poster, use combinations that differ from the primary black and white combination only for larger or highlighted text, such as headlines and titles.
      • We highly encourage that body text remains black text on a white background.

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  1. Line Spacing:
    • You need to consider both leading/line-spacing, the vertical space between lines of text, and tracking/letter-spacing, the horizontal space between characters.
    • Use between 1.2 and 2.0 leading or line-spacing to help the reader move from line to line more easily.
    • If your processor allows for tracking or letter-spacing adjustments, use a minimum of +3 for all text.
      • Letter-spacing can be increased for titles and section titles based on your preference.

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3. Poster Images & Graphics

  1. For in-person posters, prior to including images & graphics on your poster, check the image resolution to confirm that they are at 300 dpi at minimum.
    • Images that look good on a computer screen may not print well.
  2. Include a title and a caption with each image or graphic to provide context for what the image or graphic is communicating.
  3. Provide alt text for all images in your digital file, and if possible, a visible image description.
    • If you provide both alt text and a visible image description, avoid repetition; the alt text may be a brief description of the image, and the image description may be a separate, more detailed description. Otherwise, make sure the alt text includes all relevant details visible in the image.
    • When discussing or presenting your poster, read the image description from your poster or be prepared to provide one if not on the poster.
  4. Align images and graphics with their corresponding text.
    • Avoid placing text over images.

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IV. Poster Accessibility

  1. Prepare a screen-reader-friendly PDF.
  2. Prepare a simplified, text-based alternative format, either as a .doc or webpage version.
    • Upload or link the second format to the 2021 AAA Annual Meeting Virtual Platform.
  3. Always visually describe all visuals on your poster, or of any physical materials you might present along with your poster, whether for your virtual recording or when discussing the poster with in-person attendees.
  4. Speak at a reasonable pace so that your audience members can follow along.
    1. If you are recording yourself for a virtual poster, consider preparing and then practicing from a script. You can then utilize this script as the base for your transcript!
  5. For in-person posters, include a short link and/or QR code directly on your poster to the digital access copies (both the PDF and the text-based format).
    1. If using .doc, upload the text-based format to your chosen cloud storage system.
      • Recommendation: https://bitly.com is a great source for creating customized short links for free.
    2. Offer to read the text directly from your poster and describe all visual material to attendees.
    3. What do I do if an ASL interpreter is present?

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1. Digital Access Copies Check List

This check list includes all possible materials that should be available through the short link and/or QR code provided on your poster.

  1. Accessible PDF
  2. Text-based Alternative Format (.doc, webpages, etc.)

You will also upload both of these version to the 2021 AAA Annual Meeting Virtual Platform, and you may invite attendees to go check out your poster’s access copies through the 2021 AAA Annual Meeting App instead.

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V. In-Person Preparations

1. Traveling with Your Physical Poster

When sharing your poster at an in-person meeting and after using your preferred software program to create your poster, you will need to print the poster using a professional printer service of your choice, such as Staples, FedEx, your school’s print shop, or other similar companies. It can be beneficial to check out multiple options to find the best price and quality for your needs. The poster material you choose to use is based on your preference. When submitting your printing order, your poster should be no larger than 4 ft high by 6 ft wide/1.2 m high by 1.8 m wide.

To travel with your poster, you will need to purchase an art or a poster tube, which may be found at a local arts & crafts store or online.

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2. Materials

  1. AAA will provide…
    • Pushpins
    • A display board with a useable surface area of 4 ft high by 6 ft wide/1.2 m high by 1.8 m wide
    • A small table in front of the display board where you may place…
      • Handouts
      • Samples
      • Various visuals
      • Other materials you wish to demonstrate or distribute
      • Note: The tables will not have access to power or electricity, so please keep this in mind when considering items to display.
  2. You should bring…
    • Your printed poster
    • Additional materials based on your poster’s needs, such as…
      • Tape
      • Line level
      • Handouts
      • 3D prints

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3. Physical Poster Session Set-up

  1. Please arrive 20 minutes before the start of your session to set up your poster.
  2. Be sure to remove your poster at the end of your poster session time, allowing setup time and preparation for presenters within the next session.

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4. Presentation Tips

  1. Do not forget to print and bring your poster to your designated poster session timeslot!
  2. Bring business cards to facilitate greater networking.
  3. Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated while presenting.
  4. Dress appropriately and wear comfortable shoes.
  5. Please note that it is NOT possible to write or paint on the board upon which your poster will be mounted.

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VI. References & Resources

Please feel free to review the following references and resources as you prepare your poster for the Annual Meeting.

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