What does accessibility mean when it comes to event planning? How can you accommodate various disabilities? Here’s your guide.
You’re planning your first business event. You’re inviting influential people from all over to try out one of your products. The first step of event planning is to make sure that it’s accessible for all your guests.
What does accessibility mean though? The basic definition is to accommodate those who may have disabilities. If you don’t put a plan in place for these people then you’ll notice that the number of guests who show up to is going to be smaller than you hoped.
To help you plan for accessibility, here is everything you need to know about how to make your event available to everyone.
The first part of making sure that your event is accessible is to find out what kind of accommodations you should be making. Sending out your invitations is the perfect place to find out.
You can include a checklist in your RSVPs where guests can check off the accommodations they will need and send it back to you. Some of the things you can have on it are
- Assistive listening device
- Reserved front-row seat
- Wheelchair access
- Diet restrictions
- Large print
Make sure you include an “other” section where guests can write down specific needs. Follow up with these individuals in regards to their needs. If they make a request that you can’t follow through with you’ll need to contact them to find alternate accommodations.
2. Checking the Venue
After you’ve sent out all your invitations you’ll check out the venue. You have to make sure that it has enough space available for all your guests. You also need to test visuals, technology, and acoustics.
There needs to be large and clear signage that directs guests where they need to go. All the rooms for the presentation halls to the hallways outside need to be well lit.
If you’re using projections of any kind you need to hop around the presentation area to make sure that it can be seen in every area.
When checking for acoustics you need to keep the hearing impaired in mind. Limit background music from going on while the presenter is speaking. Have seating available near the front for the purpose of lip reading.
Have assisted listening devices available. Also if you have an interpreter for the event, they need to be standing in a well-lit area so it’s easier for them to be seen by those who need them.
You should make sure that your venue has handicap parking for those who may be in wheelchairs or use walkers. You want them to have easy access to the building so they need to be able to move around once they are inside.
To this end, make sure the venue has elevators and ramps. You don’t want any of the large entrances to be clogged up so avoid putting signage in these areas. The venues should have big double doors that lead into the presentation halls.
Be sure you keep any cables and wires out of walking areas or else walkers may get caught on them. Lastly, the venue should have handicap bathrooms available.
Some guests may need a little extra assistance from technology that they bring with them. Be sure that the venue has plenty of outlets available to accommodate laptop chargers and other devices.
Also, be sure that there is plenty of workspace and work surfaces available to go around.
There is always a chance that someone will bring along a service animal. You can’t expect these animals to stand stock still the entire time. They need to be comfortable.
This is going back to space but make sure all presentation halls have enough room for these service animals to stretch and lay down while the guest is at the conference.
3. The Event
You’ve got a venue that has plenty of accessibility for those who are disabled. Accessibility doesn’t end at the venue though. You’ll have to do a little extra work
Designate an Employee
A lot of your employees will be working alongside you to make sure the event goes off without a hitch. Designate one of these employees to help guests to their seats, keep all pathways are cleared, and to be sure the technology is working.
There is a little checklist that you need to send all presenters at least a month or so before the event takes place. This checklist needs to request that they send all their materials in advance for those who can’t view screens, they need to verbally describe their visuals to you, have large print copies printed out in advance, avoid using small print on their presentations, and activate captions on their materials.
You need to have a second employee in charge of making sure all these things happen.
With all the people attending your event, the likelihood that nobody has a food allergy of any kind is small. That’s why you need to have vegan and gluten-free options available.
On top of having these foods available, you should have clear signage that points them out.
What Does Accessibility Mean? Making Sure Everyone Can Attend Your Event
What does accessibility mean? Well, the definition is making your event available to everyone by providing accommodations for those who need it.
If you don’t follow through with some of the planning steps in this list, you may find the turnout to your event is smaller than you would like. Include everyone.
Do you need an interpreter for your event? Contact us to get a quote on our services.