Meetings in external venues necessarily require more effort to make them accessible, but the result is a successful event that anyone can participate in. Use the following checklist to design and deliver accessible and inclusive events at external venues. Always ask each attendee about their unique accessibility requirements and never make assumptions.
Choosing a venue
- The venue has accessible unisex bathrooms. These bathrooms are functioning, free from clutter, are easily accessed and well signposted.
- There are accessible public transport services near the venue.
- There are accessible car spaces near the entrance of the venue. These car spaces are clearly identified.
- There are drop off points near the entrance of the venue.
- There is a clear, continuous accessible path of travel from public transport, parking and drop off points to the entrance of the venue. A continuous access path of travel is a clearly marked pathway of a minimum of one metre in width with no steps or barriers. This may mean there are ramps for wheelchair users.
- There is a clear, continuous access path of travel from the entrance of the venue to all areas that are being used as part of the event.
- Operational Automatic doors at the entrance.
- All doors are at minimum a metre wide to allow wheelchair users to enter with ease.
- The information and/or registration desk is at a height that is accessible for wheelchair users, or someone is there to assist.
- There is a hearing loop available. If not, a temporary hearing loop has been organised.
- The venue has removable seats for wheelchair users.
- The venue has a breakout space or quiet room for attendees who require it.
- The venue understands the rules and regulations related to assistance animals. The venue provides facilities for assistance animals (e.g. toileting facilities, shade, water).
- The venue has easy access to an outdoors area to allow assistance animals to be walked during meal breaks.
- All staff (your staff and venue-provided staff) and volunteers have had disability awareness training and been briefed on any accessibility requirements of attendees.
- The area being used is free from distracting noise (e.g. noise of traffic, other events).
- There are easily accessible power points to allow attendees and presenters to charge motorised scooters and wheelchairs.
- Ask attendees to advise about accessibility requirements when registering for the event. Outlining accessibility features available at the venue may help people better articulate their needs.
- Information is provided about accessing the venue, such as availability and location of accessible parking, public transportation, drop-off points.
- Digital invitations are presented in an accessible way.
- Attendees can register for the event in a range of ways (email, phone, in person, online).
- Companion Cards are honoured by the venue.
Marketing and communications
- Provide multiple methods of contact such as a phone number, email address, or teletypewriter (TTY) number.
- Written material and signage use large and clean, sans serif font with good spacing and high contrast between the text and the background.
- Communications use inclusive, person-first language. The Australian Network on Disability has a guide on inclusive language.
- Written material is made available in plain English/Easy Read alternatives.
- Event websites should conform with WCAG 2.1 AA standards. 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.
Signage and helping attendees find the event
- Clear signage has been placed in logical areas to direct people to all event areas as well as amenities (toilets, first aid etc).
- Accessible pathways are clearly identified.
- Wayfinding materials are in easy to understand English in a sans serif font.
- Staff are placed outside to help direct attendees.
- There are no structures obstructing any kerb ramps.
- Accessible portable toilets and water stations are provided.
- Street closures or fencing should maintain the accessibility of kerb ramps and/or continuous accessible paths of travel.
- The event provides breakout spaces and seating in shaded areas.
- If grassy areas are present, they are covered with flooring materials to make mobility easier.
- Cable trays are made wheelchair accessible.
- Auslan interpreters are booked as needed. Seats are reserved in front for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to have a clear view of the Auslan interpreters.
- Adequate space (at least a metre) is provided between tables for wheelchair users.
- Tables, including refreshment tables, are at an accessible height for wheelchair users.
- Chairs are provided for people who experience fatigue.
- Stages and speaking areas are accessible for speakers, including wheelchair users and people with limited mobility.
- The room is well lit throughout.
- The room is clear of trip hazards such as cables.
- The MC should provide ‘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.
- The MC should provide an introduction for attendees in the meeting so people who are blind and people attending by phone or electronically are aware of who is in the room and where they are located.
- Ample space is provided around the entrance for ease of entry and exit with minimal to no disruption of other attendees.
- All videos are captioned. Audio descriptions are provided where appropriate. Presenters should describe any visual information if audio descriptions cannot be provided.
- Presenters describe any relevant visual information in their presentations and in the room (e.g. “around half of the room raised their hand”).
- If they are used, audiences are informed of the use of flashing lights, strobes, loud noises or other special effects.
- Auslan interpreters are adequately lit, even if the lights are dimmed for presentations.
- Portable microphones are made available for members of the audience if questions are invited from the floor.
- Presentations are distributed prior to the event, and should be in an accessible format.
- Presentations should advise early in the session if any interactive polling will be used so people can prepare ahead of time.
- Presenters to put out a reminder that if companion animals are in the room, everyone should seek permission from the owner before petting or talking to the animal.
- Any printed handouts are to be provided in an accessible electronic form
- Where possible, presenters should avoid the use of abbreviations, acronyms, idioms and jargon. Explain them if they are used.
- Speakers announce their name and role prior to beginning their presentation.
- Accessibility needs of presenters have been addressed.
- Catering tables are at a suitable height for wheelchair users or people with short stature.
- Accessible seating and tables are available.
- A variety of meal options are provided including easy to eat items that do not require utensils.
- Catering staff are briefed on accessibility requirements and are available to assist with serving items where required.
- Special means (e.g. gluten free, vegetarian, allergy specific etc.) are clearly labelled and easy to access.
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