What Event Planners Need to Know About Accessibility & Platforms

Filed under:

Virtual Events, Strategy
How can your virtual event site be more efficient and easy to use for all users, includingthose with disabilities and those without?

Check out our previous blog post for a quick debrief of what accessibility is – and why you should care.

When you think of an accessible event platform, you might think about digital solutions designed for users with disabilities. This is incredibly important – but as you evaluate accessibility solutions, lean into thinking about your users and how they will interact with your event. Think about how your site can be more efficient and easy to use for all users – those with disabilities and those without. For example, posting a transcript of a session may be invaluable to someone with hearing difficulties. A transcript may also be helpful and convenient for your attendees who may want to skim through content for specific information – or maybe someone likes to highlight the text and take thorough notes.

What does accessibility look like in an event platform?

From 30,000 feet, an accessible event platform will be a platform that has two key features:

  1. It’s easy to use, read, and navigate.
  2. Your content is available in multiple formats.

This first feature – ease of use – will be driven by the platform you choose. Is the platform well-designed in terms of layout, color, and user interaction components (such as buttons, text fields, etc.)? The second feature – content in multiple formats – will be driven by you as the event planner to either create or coordinate new formats of content.

Specific examples of accessibility measures found in an event platform may include:

  • Posting transcriptions and adding closed captioning for both pre-recorded and live content whenever possible
  • Including a sign language interpreter for on-screen for live videos
  • Posting accessible versions of PowerPoint presentations or other materials shared via screen share to those who need it ahead of presentation slots. (Tools such as screen readers or font enlargement don’t work on a screen share)
  • Adding descriptions to all images and links so that visually impaired users can know what an image is if they cannot view it (via ARIA regions and Alt text)
  • Using Google Translate or equivalent tools to provide multilingual content
  • Or, something as simple as reminding speakers to keep in mind that some attendees may not be able to see their slides, so they should say what’s on their slide if there’s an important image.

How do I go about making my virtual event accessible?

Clarify Requirements

First, check with your organization to clarify any legal requirements or organizational initiatives you may have for accessibility (e.g., WCAG 2.1 AA). This will give you an idea of if you have a specific level of compliance you must achieve.

Choose the Right Platform

While you evaluate virtual event platforms, look for the accessibility features listed in this article – and ask the platform provider about their options for accessibility. A highly custom platform will facilitate accessibility because you can curate the user experience and site content specifically for your needs. Think about your event format and where you may want to include accessibility features.

Plan for Creating Content

The technology of your event is only one piece of making your event accessible. You must create – or find a partner to create – the content of your event. This may include generating transcripts of pre-recorded sessions or collecting PowerPoint files from your speakers. Additionally, you might arrange for services such as sign language interpretation or automatic closed captioning for your live broadcast.

Find the Right Partner

There are a lot of factors to consider when seeking to make your event platform more accessible. Find a partner with experience developing digital platforms from an empathy-driven perspective. If you’re building a custom event platform, you’ll need a partner with the user experience, visual design, and technical expertise to support your accessibility goals.

Here at Taoti, we are industry leaders in creating accessible websites that move needles. We have the expertise to advise you at every step of the process. Our dedicated accessibility team will work directly with your custom platform to ensure that your event is accessible across devices for all users. Contact us to take your virtual event to the next level of accessibility.