Large-scale events attract professionals and attendees from various parts of the world, with each attendee having unique needs and preferences. Because people with different abilities will most likely attend your event, ensuring they are adequately catered for is vital. And event accessibility is more than just making statements on your website or writing fancy briefs; it is about making conscious efforts to ensure attendees feel welcome. With over a billion people experiencing some form of disability globally, making your events accessible and inclusive is necessary.
At Performedia, we are committed to helping you make all your event attendees feel welcome. In this article, we will look at why you should make your events more accessible and give valuable tips to ensure that all your attendees enjoy a premium experience at your events.
So, why go through the extra steps to make your events more accessible? We look at a few reasons below:
It takes conscious effort to be able to include multiple options for your event attendees to maximize the experience. Events where the organizers have signs in braille, create room for service animals, or reserve parking spaces for differently-abled persons show that the organizers put thought into their event planning. Overall, this improves the overall quality and feel of your event.
Inclusivity and equity are values that are becoming rapidly adopted in today’s world of work. Research by Josh Bersin revealed that companies that value inclusivity are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market. With accessible events, you do not just ensure that your attendees feel welcome; you can also create new solutions, improve your revenue, and stay at the forefront of innovation.
Making your events inclusive and accessible is an effective way to ensure that your business remains progressive. Today’s world of work is evolving towards ensuring that all qualified individuals get a chance to show their skills and contribute to the economy. It has paid dividends in multiple sectors, including the event industry. A study by the Harvard Business Review revealed that companies that value diversity are 70% more likely to capture new markets, a potential that event organizers can harness.
What does it take to make your events more accessible? We explore a few tips below:
From the outset, make your attendees feel included by acknowledging them on your registration page. You can include a note stating your commitment to ensure that all individuals are engaged fully and a statement of what aids are already in place on the page. A statement such as ‘Our venue is wheelchair-accessible assures persons in wheelchairs that they can conveniently access your event. In addition, include a checklist in your meeting’s RSVP so that people with disabilities can select the form of aid they may require.
It’s also best practice to allow your attendees to state their preferences and request aid or considerations they may need. Some people may have unique conditions or allergies that you might not be able to anticipate, so ensure to create an option for attendees to reach out and contact your team.
While planning your event, ensure the arrangement and seating conform to accessibility standards. Priority seating for people with disabilities, ramps, and wide doorways to accommodate wheelchairs should be among the various items on your checklist. It is also vital to include signs that ensure attendees can find useful facilities easily.
Technology is an effective way to ensure that your attendees get the experience that they want. You can include real-time captioning on your Zoom streams or have a small section of the screen dedicated to a sign language interpreter. It’s also a best practice to have your technology UI/UX tested for people with disabilities.
Ensure that ice-breakers, discussion sessions, and games are multi-modal and accessible. You can consult with disability experts to ensure your activities meet attendee needs.
The needs of people with disabilities can vary throughout your program, so it is vital to have experienced staff on hand to address any issues. Whether it’s staff to help direct people in wheelchairs to designated seating or technology experts to ensure that captioning is functioning effectively, dedicated teams are essential for an inclusive experience.
While developing your programs, ensure that people with disabilities are considered. Some people may require breaks between sessions, and people with mobility disorders may need more time to move around your venue. Ensure that your event software adequately creates options for attendees to participate multimodally, including audio transcription, live captions, and on-demand content.
While preparing slides and other sessions, it is helpful to include ASL (American Sign Language) and audio descriptions for people with hearing or visual disabilities. This will ensure that such participants can fully participate in sessions and gain from shared insights.
If your event is on-site, having medical personnel available to help with any potential emergencies is always helpful. This will ensure that your attendees are always covered, no matter what comes up.
Post-event content is an effective way to engage with audiences long after your event. However, just like the main event, it is essential to ensure that people with disabilities can engage with your content. For example, you can include an ASL stream in your recorded sessions and live captioning to help attendees with hearing disabilities follow up.
An effective way to make your events more accessible is by providing on-demand content for registered attendees. Ensure to provide the content in multisensory and multimodal forms, as it allows persons with various abilities to fully engage with your content. It is also important to publicize your event's content, so that your attendees can all benefit from the experience.
After your event, it is crucial to ascertain that your attendees are comfortable at your event. If it is a hybrid event, you can ask attendees personally how they feel. If it’s an online event, you could include a feedback form so attendees can state their feelings and thoughts about your event. Ensure to take note of their feedback for future events.
Planning an accessible event can feel overwhelming but is easily manageable with a few processes in place. With the right event provider like Performedia, it is possible to create inclusive, accessible events with ease.