News from Northwest ADA Center – Idaho
Making Online Events Accessible
As meetings and events move to online as a result of COVID, accessibility is too often an afterthought. Where before one would make sure the venue was accessible etc, now we need to make sure the virtual event is accessible too. So let’s break down the inaccessibility of the internet barrier and have accessibility be a priority and central to your planning process.
Planning: At the starting point, think about the scope of your event and what platform you plan to host it on. Provide information on how to access the event for people with limited or no access to internet at home, and be willing to have phone in capability and offer to share information offline too (Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Go To Meeting). If the event is being held on social media (Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube) look into any accessibility issues inherent to the platform you are using. Does it require you to have an account? Determine if your platform provides captioning.
Inclusion: As you are planning, reach out to disabled speakers, performers and other talent who may be interested and available for your event. People with disabilities represent nearly 20% of the population so should represented in your team as well.
Intellectual Disability: Access needs aren’t universal, so be open to different tools and technology to make sure your attendees have no problems. Access needs such as sensory issues (extremely loud videos) need to be considered as they would for in-person events. Leave time for processing information, 10 minute breaks every hour or so. Send out a tip sheet with step by step information on how to use the platform.
In Advance: Make sure it’s possible for someone to request specific access ahead of time. Factor in the cost of captioning, ASL interpreting into your budget. Know ahead of time where to access these services. Check that the platform you are using is compatible with screen readers. Offer multiple ways of attendees to participate, submit questions in advance, etc. Share the format: discussion, listening, and how long it runs so attendees can plan. Provide any written materials in an accessible file format. PDF’s are often unreadable by screen readers. If you use images, include alternative text and image descriptions.
Captioning: For video and presentations add captioning. If you upload to YouTube, you can use the automated captioning and fix any errors before publishing. Or use a professional website like Rev, ASL Captions, etc. For live-stream content, you’ll need live real-time captions, live descriptions, and alternate text. And ask people to say their name before they talk so everyone knows who is talking.
Visually Impaired: Make sure speakers are well lit and clearly visible. Describe any images shown, read any text that appears on the screen, and describe anything you gesture at as if the person you are explaining it to isn’t in the same room as you.
I know it’s quite a learning curve for all of us, but let’s keep the momentum going. For more info go here.
For more information about the ADA contact:
Dana Gover, MPA, and ACTCP Certification, ADA Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator
For more information about ADA Technical Assistance visit the NW ADA Center Idaho website: nwadacenter.org/idaho
Phone: Voice and Text 208-841-9422
Idaho Relay Service: 7