The main goal of the majority of event organizers is to ensure their experience can be equally enjoyed by everyone. This includes attendees who have accessibility requirements.
Our 12 point guide will help you make sure that your event will provide all attendees with equal opportunities.
1. Venue & Facilities
2. Accessibility for Wheelchair Users
Make sure that the event attendees who use a mobility device (whether a wheelchair or scooter) can easily access the venue.
It is also important to check if there is enough room for guests with limited mobility to move around and that there is enough room for them to view the ceremony comfortably.
3. Parking Slots
Having enough parking slots for disabled people comes without saying, but at some venues, accessible parking is insufficient, or simply non-existent. In this situation, spaces can be designated for parking temporarily.
Pavement tape, barricades, signs, and traffic cones can help establish space for parking and access aisles. Accessible parking should be located on stable surfaces, and connect to accessible routes leading to entrances and/or event areas.
4. Steps and Stairs
If the main entrance to the venue has steps, make sure there is a second entrance that can be used by the wheelchair users and there is someone who can welcome your guests and point your guests in the right direction.
If there are no other entrances available, it is also possible to rent out ramps for short periods of time. Please note that the longer the ramp, the smoother it will be to use. So, when choosing the length of the ramp, it is better to opt for the one that is 6-8 times the height of the step.
4. Outdoor Spaces
If you are having an outdoor event, remember that the event attendees who use mobility devices might find it hard to move around on the grass, cobblestones, or gravel. Therefore, it would be advisable to form a temporary path by laying down a carpet or even plywood planks to make the event more accessible.
Accessible bathrooms must be large enough for a person in a wheelchair and they must have handrails and bars. Make sure to check if they have soap, mirrors, and bins.
Overall, it is important that all the guests get equal experience, so if the other bathrooms have flowers or toiletry baskets, make sure these ones do too.
Also, in some venues, the disabled bathrooms can sometimes be in just one part of the building, so it is crucial that there is an accessible bathroom close to all of the action.
6. Ground Transport
Ensure accessible shuttles are conveniently located for your attendees to move between venues, the airport, and around town. It is important to have the staff trained to operate lifts and ramps and assist blind, Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and hard-of-hearing people.
7. Guest Rooms
If you have a longer event, ensure hotels have accessible guest rooms available.
Most hotels have rooms that should be considered accessible but unfortunately, that might mean that they have done the bare minimum to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
So, inspect the rooms during site visits to make sure they actually provide what is required by law and needed for people with disabilities.
8. Day Of Event
ASL Interpreter for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people
Having an ASL interpreter for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people at your event is not a preference, but a necessity and a legal requirement for accessibility.
If an event professional cannot secure an interpreter due to some reasons, ADA suggests a few other options to provide effective communication to Deaf and hard-of-hearing attendees. For example, real-time captioning or video remote interpreting.
At Inclusive Communication Services, we offer professional convention-ready ASL interpreters and transcribers, who will travel wherever needed to ensure equal access for all. We offer the best ASL services in New York City and beyond. Request a free quote now.
9. Caption the videos
Whether live or prerecorded, your corporate event videos are not accessible to people who are Deaf or hard of hearing unless those videos include captions. So, make sure that real-time captioning and assistive listening systems are available.
10. Brief your speakers
Since there might be Deaf and hard-of-hearing people present at your event and some of them are lip-readers, brief the speakers to face the audience and cameras. It will be also very important for them to always use the microphone and avoid speaking too quickly or quietly.
11. Braille and low-vision accessibility
It is crucial to offer pre-meeting and registration materials offered in alternative formats such as braille, large print, and text-only saved to USB.
It is also important to have accessible elevators with control panel buttons with braille indicators at an accessible height.
12. Food options for dietary restrictions
One of the main factors that will influence the event’s success is being able to provide great food. While it is important to create a menu to accommodate every attendee’s tastes, it is even more important to accommodate their allergies and special dietary restrictions.
Here are the common restrictions you should take into consideration when working on the menu:
- lactose intolerance;
- peanut allergies;
- vegetarian or vegan diet;
- diabetic diet;
- gluten-free diet (for people with Celiac disease);
- Kosher diet;
- Halal meat.
Hope these tips will help you organize an inclusive and accessible event for everyone.
Did we miss anything? Leave us a comment and let us know what accommodations you made to host an accessible event.