What are some strategies for ensuring content accessibility for your virtual event?
Virtual events are a wonderful method to bring people together from all around the world to participate in these events actively. By embracing accessibility in virtual events, we provide a valuable opportunity for those unable to attend in person. However, without virtual event materials, we risk excluding a significant portion of the audience.
According to the recent Social27 survey, accessibility was cited by more than half of respondents (49%) as the most essential reason for attending an event in a virtual or hybrid setting. It implies that a good chunk of the target audience would like to attend the event but is unable to do so.
Here are some pointers to make your virtual event material available to all:
Preparing for every workshop, offer portable versions of the event content.
If you are planning to screen share content from a PowerPoint presentation, PDF file, webpage, or other resources during the session, provide a link or download of the content prior to or during the session. Screen sharing is not accessible as content being screen shared does not work with screen readers or other assistive technology. However, the file itself can be navigated with assistive technology, so making it available for download will help attendees to better follow along and avoid missing key for event content.
Benefits to making on-demand material available
There are several unspoken benefits to making on-demand material available before, during, and after a virtual event. Pre-event on-demand content can present introductory information on topics so that speakers can dive deeper into concepts or topics during the scheduled session. Making sessions available on demand after their live broadcast also allows people to catch up on sessions they missed or revisit the session to clarify concepts or refresh their knowledge. Some events leave their event site open for weeks or months after the event to allow people to get the most out of these on-demand videos. However, making them accessible is not as simple as most people assume.
Studies show that 41% of videos are incomprehensible without sound or captions. Before uploading on-demand content, ensure that accurate captions are available. Captions should not only detail what the speaker is saying but should also include written descriptions of other sounds. Sound effects in the presentation, music and other noises should be included in captions. Captions should also match the speaker’s speech, including any stutters or fumbling of words. Videos can have closed captions (which
need to be turned on in settings) or open captions (which are always visible). Closed captions can always be turned on and off as per the requirement, but open captions are always available.
Availability of the resource
It is critical to remember that accessibility means making your event materials available to as many people as possible. You may increase engagement and involvement while reaching a bigger audience by making stuff available at the event space.
Take the measures necessary to guarantee that everyone has access to your virtual event material, and you will be well on your way to exceeding sales targets and financial success. In recent years, virtual events have increased in popularity. Yet, not everyone may appreciate the result as for some meeting people in person is a broader experience here than just seeing them on a video.
One significant difficulty is accessibility. It is critical to examine how the material is presented and if it will be understandable to all participants, including those with visual impairments, when developing event content, including presentations.
⚫ Assistive technology such as screen readers is commonly used by visually impaired people. It is crucial to create content that is readable to the eye and assistive technology. Here are some key action points for improving readability and accessibility:
⚫ Include alt-text for any images that appear on event sites or in event material – Screen readers and other assistive technologies can read alt-text, which is a textual explanation of the image. Take the time to write alt-text that is thorough, accurate, and descriptive. Event organizers or speakers promoting the event or their content on social media should also consider adding image descriptions in Instagram captions or across other social platforms.
⚫ All visual depictions in your meetings should be outlined – If the speaker is referencing a photo, graph, or chart during their session, they should provide a verbal description of it so that those who cannot see it can still follow along with the session. Graphs and charts should also have alt-text in the downloadable copy of the presentation.
⚫ Restrict the use of lighting effects or graphics and include cautions – WCAG standards recommend that animations, including animated gifs that appear on webpages, should not flash more than three times per second. Apply the three flashes rule to all your content or avoid flashing. If there is an event session where flashing is an integral part of the content, provide an advanced warning to participants so that they may assess whether it is safe for them to attend and view these effects.
⚫ Use legible typefaces – The Bureau of Internet Accessibility recommends Times New Roman, Verdana, Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, and Calibri.
⚫ The text should have a suitable intensity ratio – WCAG guidelines state that text and images of text should have a color contrast ratio of 4:5:1 at the minimum. Large text should have a 3:1 ratio.
⚫ Avoid using just text formatting (bold, italics, color) – Most screen readers do not inform users about text formatting. Proper headings and descriptive page titles are, however, especially important.
⚫ To summarize, accessibility is a vital part of virtual events, and it is critical to ensure that your information is available to everybody. By providing downloadable copies of event content before each session, you can ensure that all attendees have the same opportunity to engage with your content. With these suggestions in mind, plan a more inclusive and effective virtual event that will benefit companies overall.
Create an accessible event using the Social27 Virtual Event Platform.
The Social27 Virtual Event Platform aims to help event organizers create events accessible to all participants. Please read our accessibility policy to learn more about this commitment and the accessible features of the platform.
To discover more about how we emphasize virtual event accessibility, schedule a demo.