AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
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Accessible Online Events

When hosting virtual events, it is important to take accessibility into account. There are some simple steps that can be taken to ensure that your online event is accessible. It's important to consider accessibility through all stages of your event planning to ensure that your event can be enjoyed by all attendees.

This checklist should be a helpful guide towards making your online event more accessible. But it's always important to ask your attendees if there's anything else they might need or find helpful and be open to making accommodations that you might not have thought of!

 Promotion & Planning

Have you made your event invite accessible (social media/email)?

  • Have you provided alt text for any images or logos?
  • Have you included an option for a plain text version of the invitation?
  • Have you made sure any web links you have included are clearly labelled for screen reader users? (note: ‘Click here’ followed by the naked URL’s (like https://example.ie) should be avoided as they are difficult for a screen reader to read. Ideally you should hyperlink the 'Click here' text as we have done at the end of this section)
  • Have you used clear headings to divide up lengthy chunks of text, making the organisation of your message clear?

Have you asked about accessibility requirements in the registration form/email invitation?

Is there a clear contact person for anyone with accessibility requirements/queries?

Have you checked and followed up on any requirements requested through the registration process?

Have you arranged a captioning service for the event, and an ISL Interpreter if requested?

More information about captioning and ISL services are available here.

Before the Event

Communications

Are you sure that the information you have sent out about the event is clear? Does it provide full details on what to expect during the event, including, for example:

  • How long is the event?
  • What is the format of the event?
  • Will participants be expected to contribute at any stage?
  • Will there be a Q&A session?
  • Can participants send questions in advance?
  • Will the event be captioned?
  • Will there be an ISL interpreter?

Information about the Platform

Be clear about where your event is being hosted (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc) and advise participants to ensure they are using the latest version of your chosen platform.

Advise people on how they can access any accessibility features, including closed captioning.

Provide information for screen reader users if the chat feature will be enabled: If you use a screen reader, you may wish to disable this during the event as the chat box can sometimes interfere with you hearing the speakers.

Share any materials, for example presentation slides, before the event.

Ensure that the event information and any accompanying documents are accessible.

More information on creating accessible slides and documents is available here.

 During the Event

Ensure that microphones are off when people are not speaking. This prevents additional background noise which may be distracting.

Ensure the ISL video is always on if you are using an interpreter.

MC/Event Host:

Introduce yourself and provide full details regarding the event, including;

  • Event format and timing
  • How to turn on closed captioning (click the CC button on Zoom)
  • Inform people of the ways they can interact during the event, for example using the chat function or any hashtags
  • If the chat function is being used, let participants know that this might interfere with the functioning of screen readers, which people may wish to disable
  • Introduce each speaker clearly so those in attendance understand who is speaking when

Include a comfort break for longer events, and let people know when breaks will take place.

 After the Event

Have you arranged captioning for your video if you have recorded your event?

Have you checked that any documents/materials shared after the event are accessible?

More information about captioning and creating accessible documents is available here.

Information on Different Video Calling Platforms & Accessibility

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