What can conferences do to be more accessible to participants with disabilities?

Conference organizers can take a number of steps to ensure that their meetings are more accessible to participants with disabilities. Considerations may include:

Planning and Communication

  • Are individuals with disabilities included in the planning process?
  • Are facilities accessible to individuals with disabilities?
  • Is the website accessible?
  • Can participants request accommodations through the registration process?
  • Do staff and volunteers know how to respond to requests for disability-related accommodations?
  • Are presenters given information about making their presentations accessible?

Facilities

  • Are aisles wide and clear of obstructions for the safety of users who have mobility or visual impairments?
  • Is signage high contrast and large print so that they can be read by someone with limited vision?

Activities and Presentations

  • Is there adequate space for interpreters or captionists?
  • Are microphones provided for all presentations?
  • Can tables for food and drinks be reached from a seated position?
  • Are videos captioned?

Other publications on this topic include:

For additional information and resources on this topic consult,  What can professional organizations do to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in their field?, SIGCHI: A Promising Practice in Increasing Accessibility in Professional Organizations and Conferences, How can you make your presentation accessible?, and Equal Access: Universal Design of Conference Exhibits and Presentations.