Creating Fully Accessible Resources from PowerPoint

MASK Model - 6 Points of View

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) had the foresight to capture critical information from their experienced employees. They used a technique called MASK (Method for Analyzing and Structuring Knowledge) creating knowledge books for bituminous, concrete repair, and the engineering of bridges.

The end result of MASK is a PowerPoint organizing the text, images, and videos in a single, very large file. Historically MASK has been used for very proprietary information such as the French Atomic Energy Commission and the formulas and processes for KRAFT Foods. So, the size of the file was not as critical.

However, the MnDOT wanted to make their knowledge available to the inspectors and local engineers out in the field as well as on the MnDOT website. Each Knowledge Book averaged 300 slides and took up almost one gig of space. The PowerPoint files couldn’t be conveniently viewed on a phone or tablet and they weren’t accessible to people with disabilities.

We decided to convert the PowerPoint slides into a web-based presentation using Articulate Storyline 360. This not only met MnDOT’s requirements but added features such as interactivity and basic animations.

Here is a screen shot from the original Concrete Repair Knowledge Book:

Here is the same information using Articulate 360. (Click on the image to view the interactive page.)

Notice how the dense PowerPoint text was converted by chunking the content into two hot tabs, focusing the reader’s attention. Information common to both hot tabs can be easily displayed using the base layer.

Benefits of the Converted Knowledge Books

Here is a list of some of the benefits we’ve gained using Articulate Storyline:

  • Content is completely interactive and can be published on the web. (Published Storyline files are encrypted so changes cannot be maliciously made to the presentation.)
  • Content is responsive. It can be viewed on a smart phone, tablet, or desktop computer.
  • Content is accessible. Videos include closed captioning and graphics include alternative text for screen readers.
  • Animation can be used to demonstrate key principles.

Workflow Bonus

As each knowledge book was being converted we used Review 360 (part of the Storyline suite) to communicate any changes or modifications to each page. Content experts at MnDOT could view the current version of the knowledge book, using a hidden URL. Review 360 automatically made a screenshot of the page they were viewing. Even people who aren’t comfortable using new software found Review 360 easy to use.

There are two main screens in Review 360. Here is the main Review view:

Review 360 Review Page

This is the Feedback view showing the discussion thread for each edit:

Review 360 made the editing process smooth and efficient for both the content experts and the developer.


You can learn more about the MASK methodology at KRAFT Foods here.

The MnDOT Newsline February 2019 includes an article describing the knowledge books at MnDOT.

Mike Leegard created this presentation showing how MnDOT uses MASK to create their knowledge books.