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Best Practices for Accessibility in Planning Conferences and Meetings

In planning for conferences or meetings, here is a list of possible best practices to organize the event(s) so they are as accessible as possible for all types of people. Considering the following points will assist in making events inclusive for people with disabilities.

Before the event:

  • Ensure website, posters, and email communications meet accessibility guidelines.
  • Ensure the website and/or other communications contain extensive information about registration, schedule, travel, location, parking, lodging, accessibility,  and suggested restaurants.
  • Make clear in all advertising that accessibility is key to the meeting give attendees an opportunity to request specific accommodations.
  • Target disability groups at UT and in the Knoxville community, as appropriate.
  • Provide a unique Dropbox link to each of the presenters and ask them to:
    1. Provide materials far in advance of the conference to ASL interpreters.
    2. After the event, post accessible handouts, PowerPoints, etc., that were made available to all conference participants.

During the conference:

  • Have ASL interpreters throughout the event, including during all meals and breaks.
  • Have a hearing aid loop system that feeds the sound system into the hearing aids of participants who chose to do so.
  • Make a link and a QR code to the welcome packet and conference materials (handouts, PowerPoints) for those with visual or learning disabilities who can then use magnifying and screen-reading software. Include this link and QR code in the welcome packet; put them on large posters; and display them on projector screens when they are not being used for presentations.
  • Ensure all speakers and audience members use microphones when speaking during sessions.
  • Ensure all take place in a room with plenty of room for wheelchair users. All conference meals should also be accessible.
  • If using a raised stage, include an accessible wheelchair ramp.
  • Provide Wi-Fi to all participants.
  • Ensure there are enough conference staff on hand to coordinate with venue staff on specific requests from participants.