Checklist for virtual meetings
If planned in an inclusive format from the beginning, virtual meetings are a chance to increase the participation of persons with disabilities. The following tips will help you navigate through the realization of such an event.
1. Budget allocations
- There is a budget allocated to ensure the accessibility of the event and to cover the costs of individual requirements (called reasonable accommodation).
- Depending on your event and the participants, this could include:
- Interpretation (e.g. Sign Language, local language, …).
- Written transcription (live closed captioning, CART).
- Converting material in different formats (e.g. audio, illustrations, easy language, …).
- Reimbursement of participants from Organisations of Persons with Disabilities (OPDs) with active roles.
- Reimbursement for data/internet access (for both participants and support persons).
Keep in mind: It is important to budget for reasonable accommodation from the beginning to enable the participation of persons with disabilities. You might not need every aspect mentioned above, but having a budget allocated to accessibility is crucial. When in doubt, plan approximately 4% of the total budget.
2. Choose an accessible platform for the meeting
- The platform selected for holding virtual consultations is accessible for persons with disabilities.
- Tools used during the event including polls and surveys are accessible for persons with disabilities as far as possible.
- Information on the usage of the platform/tools is shared beforehand to enable participation of those not familiar with the technology. In some cases, a pre-meeting or the offer of support staff can be helpful.
Check the pros and cons of virtual platforms (EDF Toolkit Accessible Meetings, p.5) to help you with your decision.
3. Leave no one behind with the invitation
- Alternate texts are inserted for pictures and visual content of the digital invitation. Check here how to write alternate texts.
- The language of the invitation and the registration form is clear and easy to understand.
- The invitation or registration form has an option for participants to request their accessibility requirements. Check this sample registration form for assistance.
- Organisations representing different kinds of disabilities are invited to the meeting to ensure different perspectives.
4. Before the event
The agenda includes additional short breaks at regular intervals and/or a sufficient lunch break without any other responsibilities.
The agenda, presentations and consultation material are prepared in accessible formats and shared beforehand to ensure meaningful participation in discussions. If there is a lot of material to go through, a timeframe of two weeks beforehand is ideal.
- Depending on your event and the participants,
- Sign language interpreters are engaged.
- Live closed captioning is organised.
- Material is available in alternate formats depending on participants’ requirements (e.g. large print, easy to read, audio).
- Other requests are accommodated as far as possible.
- Information on inclusive presentations and disability-sensitive language and interaction are shared with presenters.
- Log-in information, date, time and agenda of the event is clear and easy to access for the participants. Re-sending the information at the day of the event can be helpful.
Keep in mind: Don’t assume any support requirement as different persons have different preferences. Double-check with the persons before making a decision.
Organising accessibility features like Sign Language interpretation can take time. Also, Sign Language as well as all other language interpretations have to alternate after a certain time. Prepare yourself by gathering relevant contacts early. It is also an option to ask the person if they can recommend a Sign Language interpreter.
5. During the event
- Ground rules of the event are established at the beginning, e.g. switching off the microphone when not speaking to avoid background noise.
- Important features/buttons like the chat function or the available language interpretation are explained.
- Sign Language interpretation and live closed captioning are visible in every presenting mode.
- Presenters speak slowly and encourage participants to do so to make interpretation and closed captioning easier.
- All visual content is described.
- There is an option to provide feedback in non-verbal ways such as in chat or before or after the meeting.
6. After the event
- Presentation and further material are shared.
- A follow-up process is in place to let participants know what is happening with their input.
- Feedback form is available and includes questions on accessibility, so you can improve for the next event. Check this sample feedback form.