How to make online meetings more accessible?
Planning to hold an online meeting and want to know how to adapt it to the needs of persons with disabilities?
Below find a handful of tips that will help make your meeting more accessible.
- Make sure that the online meeting participant is familiar with the tool you are going to use.
- Remember that persons using assistive technologies (e.g. blind or with mobility disability) may need more time for performing some activities or accessing some content.
- Ensure appropriate lighting: light should be evenly distributed and not too bright. Make sure your face is well visible with nothing casting a shadow on it. This will be helpful particularly for persons who are Deaf and hard of hearing.
- Ensure good sound quality. If possible, use headphones with a microphone. Additionally, close the doors and windows in order to minimise background noise. Ask the meeting participants to mute their microphones switching them on only when they are going to speak.
- Try to ensure that your background does not distract the meeting participants. Use background blurring or embedded plain backgrounds, if the tool you are using has that functionality. Also, try to dress so that you are well visible, e.g. dark clothes against a light background.
- Introduce yourself at the beginning of the meeting. If you give the floor to another person, say it and make sure that person is introduced, too.
- If you are using presentations or graphics, remember to describe their content to persons with sight disability (the essential message of a given graphic element).
- If the tool you are using allows for caption generation in real time, use that option.
- Try to speak concisely and be specific. Do not prolong the meeting unnecessarily. If possible, make short pauses from time to time in order to let the participants rest.
- Be open to comments and suggestions related to the meeting’s accessibility voiced by the participants.