Companies and organizations have been proactive in meeting their clients, customers, and or audiences through livestreams, webinars, etc. Therefore, it’s important to think about accessibility, which will allow people – no matter their physical conditions – to attend virtual events. Even people with various disabilities (i.e. hearing impaired, visually impaired, etc.) should be able to fully access virtual events.
With that in mind, here are 7 ways to implement accessibility to virtual events:
1. Test The Cameras And Webcams
“Your participants must be able to join the virtual event before it starts,” says Joseph Tiller, an event expert at Essay Services and Assignment Writing. “So, have your participants test out their video cameras or webcams prior to the event to ensure a good experience once it’s time to meet up virtually. Ensure that their faces are well-lit and contrasting their backgrounds. Whether they wish to use a background photograph to hide their surroundings is up to them. However, make sure that there’s not an excess of visual sensory overload, because that may impact people’s participation.”
2. Ask If Participants Need Accommodations
Some people (especially those with disabilities) will need some accommodations prior to joining a virtual event. So, be sure to ask participants if they need any accommodation needs. You can make this known in the registration materials that you’ll provide. As long as you don’t require participants to submit documentation about their disabilities and or disclose the nature of those disabilities, you can be sure to welcome accommodations when requested.
3. Provide Clear And Concise Instructions
As usual, you’ll need to give clear, step-by-step instructions for people to join your virtual event. As attendees will join through various platforms, it’s important to think outside the box and be able to stream your virtual event in as many platforms as possible to reach everyone.
Your joining instructions must have the following:
- Show participants where to go
- What to click on
- When to click the link
- Any software to download in order to participate, AND
- What the event homepage will look like
4. Allow Telephone Joining
Telephones aren’t 100% phased out, even with virtual meet-ups. In fact, some people prefer to join a session via phone. Therefore, you must be able to support attendees who can only join by phone, and allow that option if needed. You can use popular videoconferencing software like Zoom and Google Hangouts, which have dial-in capabilities built into them. This allows the visually impaired to join the session. And, this allows those who can’t afford other devices to join in.
5. Have A Good Moderator
“Every meeting has to have a moderator to ensure that a meeting or event runs smoothly,” says Amanda Tate, a blogger at OX Essays and Eliteassignmenthelp. “The same is true for virtual events. In this case, designate a moderator to provide the structure of the meeting. Make it your moderator’s job to identify questions, see who’s speaking, and ensure that participants aren’t speaking out of turn. Moderators can also monitor the chat box, read aloud any questions and or comments that need to be addressed.”
Closed captioning is essential for people with hearing loss. There’s nothing wrong with providing video captions, because that shows how professional you are, as well as how considerate you are to accommodate to the hearing impaired.
Another good thing about this is that there are free tools like Amara and Subtitle Horse that can help you provide closed captioning for your videos, and even give the hearing-impaired real-time translations to the communication.
7. Have A Signer
Finally, it’s important to have accommodations for people who sign. Therefore, be sure to hire a sign language interpreter that can help you translate your message to the hearing impaired. The good news is, there are many sign language interpreters available from resources, such as the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf. And, when hiring a signer, check to see if they offer things like video relay or video remote interpreting services.
As you can see, it’s important to provide accessibility for your virtual event. So, don’t neglect accessibility during the planning process of your event. Chances are, when you welcome those who require accommodations, not only will you reach out to a wider audience, but you’ll also impress those who you didn’t think might look your way until now – thus, gaining more visibility to you and your company or organization.