10 Tips for Event Accessibility

April 20, 2016 - By: Sarah Hovis

 A well-planned event, meeting, or conference will fall flat if you don’t also plan on how to make it accessible for every attendee. Here are 10 tips to keep in mind: 1. Use a
checklist during your site visit to note any important features. Also, use a mobility device, wear ear plugs, and/or an eye patch to help you understand how attendees with accessibility needs will experience at the event. Give each prospective location an access rating before making your final decision. 2. Allow participants to search for rooms that meet their requirements and share needs they may have. Room compliance varies, so check them out during your site inspection. 3. Reference the
Web Accessibility Initiative for information on designing inclusive online experiences. 4. Print event items using 16-point font minimum, Sans Serif fonts, on non-gloss paper, and in high contrast colors. Also, have real-time captioning and assistive listening systems available. 5. Leave a minimum of 30 minutes travel time between sessions. 6. Make sure all elevators (accessible and non) are working and that qualified staff are available to promptly assist with operation or service any issues. 7. Think outside designated mobility-only seating areas and consider “cut-outs” or reserved and companion seating with good sight lines in a variety of locations throughout the venue seating area. 8. Keep house lights on when possible and provide staff with flashlights when low lighting is used. Clearly call out carpet edges, curbs, and stair edges. 9. Hold workshops prior to the event so your staff knows how to respectfully interact with attendees to create a positive, inclusive environment. 10. Encourage universal design that anyone can use when setting up self-serve registration counters, attendee check-in, collateral racks, buffet tables and coffee stations. While these suggestions are by no means an exhaustive list, and every event will be different, being accessibility aware will go a long way in making a lasting impression with your attendees. Tell us in the comments how you've made an event more accessible.