As our first virtual meeting draws closer, MLA’s Equity and Inclusion Subcommittee wants to remind presenters, exhibitors, and attendees that accessibility is something you should continually consider as an information professional. It’s important for all of us to acknowledge that others may have access needs that differ from our own.
As you prepare your materials please keep accessibility in the forefront of your mind:
- When designing publicity materials, such as flyers, word documents, PDFs, or slides, make them accessible from the start by ensuring that fonts are easy to read, text is large, and has good color contrast.
- Do not use Zoom backgrounds, which can make it difficult to lip read.
- Ensure your slides are uncluttered and consider using images to help explain concepts.
- If you are presenting, 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.
- Describe your media: If you use images, include alternative text, or alt text, and image descriptions; when playing a video, introduce and summarize the video to add context or explain what occurred.
- Live captions will be made available for all sessions. Be sure to leave space for live captions at the bottom of each slide.
- Make sure your audio is clear; poor audio quality can make it hard for people to access the event. Test your microphone before presenting if you are able.
- Have your speakers use a headset or earbuds with a built-in microphone whenever possible to improve audio quality.
- If your session has a participatory component, be explicit in how attendees can participate and understand that some attendees may choose to not participate.
- 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.
- Ask people speaking to say their name every time they speak, so captioners and attendees alike all know who is talking.
- Consider sharing materials, like slides, beforehand on Sched.
We can all make accessibility a priority and remain open-minded to changing our processes, learning more, and creating events that are inclusive and welcoming to all.