Recently, someone contacted me asking if I had any ideas for how to send well wishes for a person who is unable to read traditional print. Several people had written notes for this person, but the notes were difficult to gather and at times difficult to read due uneven handwriting. I suggested they take all of the notes and put them into a Microsoft Office Sway document so that the person would be able to read the messages with ease. Here are my tips for sending well wishes with Microsoft Office Sway, and how to collaborate anonymously on a surprise.
What is Microsoft Office Sway?
Microsoft Office Sway is a free web app that allows users to create their own simple webpages and presentations with text, images, widgets, file attachments, and more. It’s a great substitute for PowerPoint or handouts, and it’s by far my favorite Microsoft Office application. I have been able to use it for lots of interesting projects over the years, including a cookbook, a formula sheet, and several different class presentations- all of which have earned a 100%.
- Microsoft Office Sway
- How To Create An Accessible Formula Sheet
- How To Create A Cookbook In Microsoft Office Sway
- My Microsoft Feature
Why I love Sway
Here are some of the many reasons I love Sway, and why I recommend using it to send well-wishes from a large group of people
IT CAN BE USED ON ANY DEVICE
Sway can be accessed on any internet-enabled device, which includes tablets, phones, computers, and similar. Many people aren’t using their computer when resting in their home, and instead read information off of tablets or phones, which can all have varying display sizes. Sway scales to all display sizes, so we don’t have to worry about information running off the page.
IT’S ACCESSIBLE WITH SCREEN READERS
Sway has this awesome feature called accessibility view which simplifies the display of the page so it can be used with screen reading and screen magnification technology. People with vision loss are not the only ones who can benefit from screen reading technology- in this case, having information read out loud can help people who might be recovering from an illness or injury that makes reading difficult.
IT’S REALLY EASY TO CREATE
If someone can click three buttons, they can create a Sway. I wanted to find an application that would be almost as easy as signing a card or posting a message on social media, and Sway is the best way to do this.
- Paper Size and Low Vision
- How To Use VoiceOver For Beginners
- Tips For Choosing Greeting Cards For Visually Impaired Recipients
Create a template
For this document, I decided to create a template that people could add their information to, without having to worry about copying over messages that people had written. I used the Heading 1 format at the top to say hello to the recipient of the card, and then added an image and paragraph below Heading 1 to explain the purpose of sending the card and mentioning that the person just has to scroll down or swipe to read the messages.
For each person, I included the following information, which was grouped automatically by heading:
- Heading 2 with their name
- Paragraph with their message
- Any additional media they wanted to include, such as a picture or video (don’t forget alt text for pictures!)
- How To Write Alt Text and Image Descriptions for the Visually Impaired
- How To Check Videos For Flashing Light Sensitivities
How to share a Sway for editing
To adjust sharing and editing settings for an individual Sway, follow these instructions:
- Click the Share button
- Allow people with the link to edit the Sway document
- Post the link where people can access it- a group chat, social media, etc with instructions on how to edit
Is collaboration really anonymous?
When I tested the settings for this post, I shared the Sway document with two other Microsoft accounts. When clicking the link to edit, I was prompted to log in with my Microsoft account, but after typing information, it was impossible to see who had typed specific text, and I couldn’t see the names of the Microsoft accounts that had accessed the Sway. Likewise, I couldn’t see the name of the account that had created the Sway in the first place.
How to send the finished document
Before sending the finished document to the recipient, I highly recommend resetting the sharing settings under the “more options” section of the sharing button to make sure that no further editing is done to the document. From there, you can send the link to the recipient the same way you would send any other link- email, text, social media, etc. They will be able to open the Sway on any device with an internet connection.
Potential uses for this type of project include:
- An interactive birthday card with photos and video messages
- Sending notes for teacher appreciation
- Creating an accessible card for someone with a print disability
- A fun surprise for a dear friend
I love being able to come up with new ways to use Microsoft Office Sway, and sending well-wishes is a really unique way to leverage the power of technology to help others be kind to each other. I hope this post helps you to create a fun document of your own that will brighten someone else’s day!