Planning an event can be hectic. There are a lot of logistics to coordinate, decisions to make, and boxes to check. While you’re in the midst of planning chaos, it can be easy to overlook a couple of things – but you don’t want to overlook accessibility and leave any of your attendees feeling left out and unable to enjoy your event content. 

To help you keep accessibility top of mind throughout the event planning process, follow this virtual event accessibility checklist to ensure accessibility best practices are being met before, during, and after your next virtual event. 

Before the Event

Considering accessibility at each step of the virtual event preparation process is important. Putting in the time to test and explore accessibility features, tools, and procedures before the event will lead to less accessibility mishaps during your virtual event and a better attendee experience. Here are the key actions to take before the event to promote virtual event accessibility: 

  • Designate an accessibility and accommodations coordinator: It’s important to designate a contact that will act as the main point person for accessibility concerns or accommodations requests. Be sure to include this person (or an email for a shared inbox if multiple people will be covering the accessibility help inbox throughout the event) on the registration, home page, session pages, and throughout the event site. 
  • Choose an accessible virtual event platform: Don’t commit to a virtual event platform for your event before taking a close look at their accessibility features. 
  • Make your event website, marketing materials, and social media accessible: Integrate digital accessibility best practices into your event marketing materials, posts, and pages. Ensure that your event website meet ADA and WCAG guidelines. 
  • Train speakers on the platform’s accessibility features as well as accessible content delivery best practices: Ensure that your event speakers are also following best practices for accessibility and have a basic understanding of the platform’s accessibility features. See our Speaker’s guide to accessibility for additional speaker resources. 
  • Create an accessible event schedule: Be sure to build in plenty of breaks throughout the event day and try to keep each session below two hours in duration. 
  • Test audio, lighting, and video quality: Ensure that attendees will be able to hear and see you clearly. Try to eliminate any static or background noise as that can cause difficulties for those with ADHD or who rely on captions. 
  • Avoid flashing or strobing animations or lighting in event presentations. Provide a warning if such lighting or effects will be used during special sessions like virtual concerts or DJ sets.

During the Event 

Throughout the event keep accessibility top of mind by following these steps: 

  • Provide information on accessibility features available in-platform at the start of the event: Make accessibility information readily available. The home page or welcome page should include links to resources on the available accessibility functions. Speakers may also want to give a brief overview of platform functions and accessibility features at the start of their sessions. 
  • Provide event content in a downloadable format (i.e., PowerPoints, PDFs, etc. displayed during video sessions): Make any content that will be shared during sessions available for download so that those using screen readers can access them. Screenshared presentations are not compatible with all assistive technologies. 
  • Provide live captioning and monitor the quality and accuracy of captions: Before the event you should have chosen a platform with live captioning. Throughout the event keep an eye on the caption accuracy and address any difficulties that arise. 
  • Encourage attendees to stay muted when not speaking and address any distracting noises throughout the sessions: Speakers should instruct attendees to remain muted unless they are speaking at the start of the session. Speakers or moderators can also request attendees to mute themselves if they are creating background noise. Keeping the session free of background noise and disruptions is helpful for attendees with hearing difficulties, ADHD, or other disabilities. 
  • Monitor session chats for accessibility questions or concerns: Moderators and speakers should review the session chat throughout the session. Attendees may have requests for the speaker such as slowing down when speaking, speaking louder, zooming in or enlarging text that they are showing on their screens, or other minor adjustments that would improve accessibility. Some attendees may also need to participate in Q&As via chat rather than verbally due to various disabilities. 
  • Monitor the accommodations contact email inbox: Have a dedicated staff member monitor the inbox for accessibility questions or concerns and respond promptly. The account should be actively monitored during all scheduled event hours so that attendees with disabilities do not miss out on sessions or networking activities due to accessibility issues. 

After the Event 

You’ve successfully thrown an accessible virtual event, so now you’re done, right? Not quite. Here’s what to do after your event to promote even greater accessibility

  • Make your post-event content accessible: If you’re making content available for on demand viewing after the event, ensure that that content is also accessible. All on demand videos should have accurate captions. 
  • Solicit feedback from attendees: It’s always a good idea to collect feedback from your attendees after the event. A post-event survey can provide valuable insights on event content, networking, accessibility, and more. Ensure that your post-event survey and emails are accessible as you don’t want to miss out on feedback from any of your disabled attendees. 
  • Document lessons learned: Take some time to review what went well and what challenges arose during the event so that you can be even better prepared going into the next one. 

Host an Accessible Event on Social27 Virtual Event Platform  

Social27 Virtual Event Platform provides a range of accessibility features that allow event owners to host virtual events that are accessible for all attendees. Feel free to explore our accessibility features to learn more about this commitment and the platform’s accessibility features.

Set up a demo to learn more about how we prioritize virtual event accessibility.