A NSW Government website
Public Service Commission

Accessible events

Information for creating accessible word documents, PDFs, presentations and emails.

There are steps you can take to ensure that everyone can participate in your event, whether it is in person, online or a hybrid event. It is important to capture your attendees accessibility needs when they are registering for your event. 

In-person events

If you are hosting an in-person event you need to ensure it is inclusive of all attendees and accommodates people with disability. 

The key things you can do to ensure your in-person event is accessible are:

  • ensure venues are accessible including access ramps, accessible bathrooms, access to catering and break out rooms, and are close to public transport
  • ensure your presentations are accessible (LINK)
  • share venue access information with attendees
  • ask attendees about their accessibility needs e.g. AUSLAN interpreters or physical access requirements
  • ensure presenters are aware of the accessibility needs of the attendees, speak clearly, use inclusive language and avoid using jargon
  • clearly describe anything that happens in the room, graphics or other visuals during the event
  • all written material should be in plain English and conform with WCAG 2.1 AA standards
  • ensure the event MC provides ‘house-keeping’ and an orientation at the beginning of the event outlining the room layout, location of breakout rooms, toilets, meal areas and fire exits, and emergency procedures.

Inclusive online events

For online meetings and events there are additional considerations you should keep in mind:

  • Ensure that the video conferencing or webinar software you are using is as accessible as possible. The software should comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 at AA level at minimum. For more information on WCAG 2.1, see WCAG 2.1 at a Glance and How to meet WCAG 2.1: A customizable quick reference.
  • Make sure users are aware of the accessibility features of the software you are using. For example, Microsoft Teams allows users to activate live captioning.
  • Where possible, select software that does not require any downloads to function. Software that requires the attendees download a plug-in to access creates unnecessary roadblocks. Some people with disability may not be able to download and install plug-ins, and most work computers do not allow users to install software.
  • Be sure to test any software before the event. User testing will allow you to check whether your intended audience can access and use the software.
  • Provide an alternative means of access for attendees who cannot access or use the software. For example, allow attendees to dial in by phone.
  • You should identify protocols for speaking at the beginning of your meeting/event. For example, ensuring that people identify who they are each time they say something and asking that not everyone talk at once.
  • Ensure that participants speak slowly and clearly. This will aid in understanding and ensure that the live captioning is as accurate as possible.
  • If participants are having connection issues ask them to disable their cameras and microphones until they need to speak. This will help reduce the strain on people with poor connections.