Delivering an Accessible Virtual Event
From Sign Language to Closed Captioning – How to create an accessible – and exceptional – virtual event
Organizations want to deliver events that reach as many people as possible and this year that means understanding how to bring accessibility to the virtual event world. In many cases, that may require accommodations to overcome individual barriers and ensure all participants feel welcome and able to participate. Step one is understanding that accessibility means different things to different people; virtual events can be asked to provide everything from screen reading technology to close captioning, sign language to simultaneous interpretation and much more.
The Proof Experiences Virtual Event team has managed online accessibility services for many clients this year including Canada Post and Queen’s University. Our team of experts understand the complexities of transitioning this important element to the virtual event space.
Not sure where to start? Here are 5 steps to creating an inclusive event by providing the right accessibility features for your online audience:
- 1. Plan Ahead – confirm early on what accessibility functions are needed for your team and give adequate time to structure your agenda accordingly, book any additional services and communicate all options to your attendees. Your needs will also inform your choice of technology partner.
- 2. Know your audience – what services have been provided in the past at live events, survey your audience in advance, etc.
- 3. Know the local and regional regulations – confirm what you are legally required to provide. For example, in Ontario residents have a right to access information in a format they can use.
- 4. Factor in added time & complexity – overlaying accessibility options can mean added technology needs & tech staff support. You’ll need to budget more rehearsal time with more people, more tech checks, etc. Not all technology operates the same and you may need to layer on additional services.
- 5. Plan for additional costs – hate to break it to you, but accessibility can be expensive e.g. sign language interpreters are in-demand, specially-trained people that need to be booked in advance – and they need breaks every 15 minutes on event day, so a half day conference will require 2-3 trained staff.
Proof Experiences can help you seamlessly integrate accessibility services into your virtual event and ensure that all attendees have an equal opportunity to enjoy themselves. Ask us how!
Natalie CiaralloDirector, Conferences & Events|December 3, 2020