Hosting Accessible Virtual Meetings and Events

Tips for hosting accessible virtual events and meetings

Due to the current virtual nature of the learning and working environment, this information was developed in addition to the resources under our “Event Planning” webpage.

  • Include an accommodation statement in the invitation and publicity materials.
  • If you aware of, or receive a request from, participants who require accessible materials, distribute these prior to the meeting or event.  (Please see HUIT’s resource for creating accessible documents).
  • Offer several format options for participants to join the meeting, if possible.  For example, Microsoft Teams and Zoom both offer the ability to join meetings using audio and video from a device or to dial-in via a conference phone number from a telephone. This way participants can select the format that suits them best.
  • Before the meeting begins, ask participants to turn on their video camera and ensure that their face is well-lit and can be clearly differentiated from the background.  Let people know that they can use a background photograph if they wish to keep their surroundings private.  At the same time, be mindful of visual sensory overload and how it may impact participation; some people may select to call-in to minimize visual stimulation (making it more important to have any materials in advance) while others may choose not to use the video camera. 
  • Designate a moderator to provide meeting structure, such as identifying questions, identifying speakers and ensuring participants are speaking in turn.  This helps to keep background noise to a minimum and benefits individuals who read lips, allowing them to better follow the conversation.
  • Monitor the chat box, read aloud the author and questions/comments to be addressed.  Use of the chat box is also an alternative method of communication to speaking aloud.
  • For larger and/or open meetings, ask meeting participants to state their name each time they speak so that attendees and interpreters and/or captioners know who is speaking.
  • Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may requests live captions* or sign language interpreters in order to access the spoken content of an online event.  Other meeting participants can benefit from captions as well, both for live and recorded meetings. Additional information on vendors can be found on our “Vendors and Service Providers” page. 

*Please note that enabling the AI automatic captioning feature, if available in your web conferencing platform, is helpful but does not provide the necessary accuracy for those who require an effective communication as an accommodation. 

  • Some individuals benefit from reviewing recorded events and meetings.

For additional information, please visit the HUIT Digital Accessibility Services webpage on Hosting Accessible Remote Meetings and Events.