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?
- 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:
- Removing Barriers Planning Meetings That Are Accessible To All Participants from the North Carolina Office on Disability and Health in collaboration with The Center for Universal Design
- SIGAccess Accessible Conference Guide
- Composing Access Project
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.