Over 11 million people in the UK are disabled. Not to consider disabled individuals when planning any form of event is planning to fail. Good event organisers and inclusive companies will put their guests experience at the forefront of the occasion. It should be second nature to consider how you can make your event a comfortable experience for all involved. This means considering the event from a disabled person’s perspective, from start to finish.
Don’t only consider dietary needs within the registration process, also request additional information so that you can successfully accommodate your audience. Small and simple changes can make a big difference to the overall experience for disabled people. There are plenty of things you can do to make your event more enjoyable for people who use wheelchairs, have hearing or sight impairments, dyslexia or other learning requirements or disabilities.
These considerations include (but are not limited to…)
- does the venue have ramps and automatic doors on entry/to exit?
- does it have lifts as well as stairs?
- is the car park close to the venue?
- is the venue close to bus and train routes?
- is there a ramp to gain access to the stage?
- does the floor plan facilitate wheelchairs and mobile scooters?
- do you need to provide an induction loop facility for hearing aid users?
- are your videos all subtitled with large enough text for people at the back of the venue to see?
- do you need interpreters?
- could using voting pads and integrated social media make the experience more inclusive?
- can you provide event literature and handouts in large print and braille?
- can you provide an iPad or tablet device with braille display? That can be used during workshops for example.
- can you provide water bowls and exercise areas for guide dogs?
- We are all individuals and learn differently which is why presentations should…
- be clear
- to the point
- consistent in colour, font and background
- incorporate a range of media including videos, images, text and sound
- make slides available before and after the event for those who make take longer to read or digest information
- leave slides up long enough for all levels of readers to process the content
- for dyslexic guests, avoid using colour combinations text which may cause visual stress, such as green and red and avoid white writing on a dark background
Some considerations may be difficult, for example dimming lights whilst doing a presentation is helpful for people with dyslexia as it reduces the glare but makes it more difficult for people with hearing impairments to see an interpreter or to lip read, therefore knowledge of your delegates requirements is key to creating the best environments.
For some events may strobe lights may be asked for, if this is the case ensure all of the guests are made aware in advance of the occasion as strobes can induce epileptic fits and migraines.
Cater to your audience the best you can, making the event as inclusive as possible. Be sure not to alienate or disadvantage any of your guests ensuring you don’t make mistakes for example, placing people in wheelchairs at the back for ease of access. This may make access easier but it could also be seen as offensive to wheelchair users.
If you are unsure of anything, it’s always best to ask. As event organisers we are happy to liaise with venues, other suppliers and delegates on your behalf. Having worked with organisations who are pioneering a ‘culture of inclusion’ we are aware of the consideration and planning that goes into an accessible event. What is more we believe that everyone is entitled to the same level of service, engagements and enjoyment and work hard to ensure we provide this.
If you are interested in working with us and our associates please get in touch, we would love to help.