Accessible Technology

Hosting Accessible Online Meetings

When hosting meetings or teaching classes using an online meeting platform such Zoom, there are several issues to keep in mind in order to ensure the meeting is accessible to all participants.

Practical Strategies

Some of the most effective strategies for ensuring online meetings are accessible are not technical strategies. They involve simple practices such as the following:

  • Distribute slides and all other materials to attendees in advance.
  • Clearly state the meeting agenda up-front, including which features of the meeting tool will be used.
  • Ask meeting participants to state their name each time they speak.
  • Create pauses during and between activities, so students who are taking notes, students with slow Internet bandwidth, or students using captions or sign language interpreters can catch up.
  • Don’t say “click here” if demoing something on the shared screen. Not everyone can see what you’re referring to. Students might be blind or low vision, writing notes, looking at the textbook or dealing with a notification that popped up that they haven’t figured out how to turn off. Instead, specifically identify what you are clicking on.

The following UW resources include a variety of additional tips:

Captioning

Students who are deaf or hard of hearing depend on live captions or sign language interpreters in order to access the spoken content of an online meeting.  These services can be arranged on behalf of faculty, staff, and students with disabilities by contacting either the UW Disability Services Office or Disability Resources for Students.

Other meeting participants can benefit from captions as well, both of live meetings and recorded meetings. See the following pages on this site for additional information about captioning:

For more general information about captioning, see Creating Accessible Videos.

Accessibility of Online Meeting Tools

Most of the tools used at the UW to support online teaching and learning have help pages that document their keyboard shortcuts (especially helpful for meeting participants who are unable to use a mouse) and provide step-by-step instructions for using the tools with assistive technologies such as screen readers.  Instructors and meeting hosts should become familiar with these resources and be ready to share them as needed with meeting participants.