According to the HLAA, 62% of employees with a disability have an invisible disability. In a virtual environment, it’s even more challenging to know if we are providing all the necessary accommodations for our audience.
As we continue to rely on digital communications to connect with our audiences, it’s important to ensure our events are accessible for all. In this blog, we will dive into simple changes we can make to improve the accessibility of our events.
What is Accessibility?
Did you know, 71% of people with disabilities leave a website immediately if it’s not accessible?
In order for something to be accessible, it must offer an equivalent experience to everyone including those with a disability.
This can refer to physical locations, but in the context of online accessibility, it refers to a disabled user’s access to electronic information.
When it comes to virtual events, we need to make sure the content and the design provides the most convenient and all-encompassing experience possible to prevent any level of exclusion.
Ask Attendees if They Need Accommodations
While we should always strive to make our events accessible, it’s also important to provide a space for attendees to make accommodation requests.
A simple way to do this is to provide a question in the registration form. A simple short-answer question like, “Do you need any accommodations?” will help you stay on top of requests.
If you are unable to customize your registration form, you can provide an email address. The key is to ensure it’s easy for attendees to know how to make accommodation requests.
Lastly, if you have an FAQ section or a conference policy statement, be sure to include an outline of all accommodations you will be providing.
Provide Captioning for Live and Recorded Events
There are 360 million people around the world who have disabling hearing loss. Captions make content accessible for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Adding captions to your live and pre-recorded videos can create a truly accessible and engaging experience for your attendees.
Many studies have proven the value of captions for online learning, including:
- A study by the Journal of the Academy of Marketing found that captions help improve brand recall, verbal memory, and behavioral intent.
- A study by the University of Iowa found that people recall information better after seeing it and hearing it.
- A study by Oregon State University found that 65% of students report captions help them focus and 63% said captions help them retain information better.
For live events, you’ll want to seek out a live automatic captioning solution or a CART solution that relies on human stenographers. Accuracy can range between 80% - 95% for live captions, depending on the solution you use.
After your event has concluded, you’ll want to caption your recorded content. You can either do this yourself or use a captioning vendor. It’s important to ensure your captions are 99% accurate, otherwise, grammar and punctuation errors will affect the comprehension of your content.
Follow Best Practices for Presenting
When presenting online, it’s important to follow best practices to ensure all your attendees have an equal experience.
Make sure to review the following guidelines with your speakers. You should also let your speakers know ahead of time if there are individuals with disabilities in your audience.
- Describe your slides: Take a moment to describe your slides. Make sure you summarize key graphs, videos, images, and bullet points.
- Caption your videos: If you are showing any videos, make sure they are captioned and the captions are turned on.
- Check the color contrast of your slides: Ensure your slides have enough color contrast between text and background, as well as images. You can use a color contrast checker.
- Read polls, chats, and questions aloud: If you incorporate polls or use the chat, make sure to read questions and replies for other attendees. In addition, make sure to give attendees plenty of time to answer.
- Provide your slides ahead of time: Provide a link for attendees to access your slides before the presentation. Additionally, provide a resource document with any links mentioned during your presentation.
Accessible Events are Better Events!
When we take the time to prioritize accessibility, we create a better experience for everyone. It also helps us provide a space that is inclusive and welcoming.
- How to Create Top-Notch Remote Video Content
- Captioning Prioritization Tips for Your Video Content
- How Captions and Transcripts Increase Engagement with Video
- 5 Best Practices for Engaging Webinar Audiences
- 7 Best Practices for Live Auto Captioning Quality
3Play Media is committed to making web video widely accessible, using technology and human expertise to deliver high-quality video accessibility services at a fair cost and unlimited scale.