Are you planning a virtual meeting? This page provides virtual meeting accessibility guidelines, which should be reviewed closely prior to your event and followed during your video call, whether on Zoom, Google Meets, or other similar platforms. This information is provided to support collective access for disabled participants, participants with disabilities, and participants with access needs, and should be disseminated to all possible participants prior to your event.
Virtual Meeting Accessible Participation Instructions
- Provide accessible introductions of all speakers on video.
- Why? An accessible introduction helps support blind and low-vision attendees, as well as others whose processing requires additional auditory information of visuals and provides visual access to each speaker.
- Request attendees to remain muted unless speaking.
- Why? Staying muted helps all attendees by minimizing audio noise. This is also especially helpful for people who are D/deaf, hard-of-hearing, have an auditory processing disorder, or experience sensory overload.
- For large groups (25+), request attendees to stay off video unless speaking or signing.
- Why? Staying off video helps all attendees by minimizing video noise and use of bandwidth on a call. This is also especially helpful for people who experience sensory overload.
- Request attendees to always announce themselves before speaking (i.e. “This is Ed.” “Nate speaking.”)
- Why? Announcements prior to speaking helps people who are D/deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind, low-vision, or have an auditory processing disorder more easily follow the conversation.
- Speak at a slow pace.
- Why? Speaking at a slow pace helps people who are D/deaf, hard-of-hearing, blind, low-vision, or have an auditory processing disorder more easily follow the conversation.
- Request attendees to raise hands, virtually or physically, or comment in the chat to indicate when they would like to speak or go on video.
- Why? Identifying when someone would like to speak via a raised hand or comment supports establishing a speaking order and avoids instances where multiple people are speaking over each other.
- Avoid speaking at the same time as others.
- Why? Focusing on one speaker at a time supports people who are D/deaf, hard-of-hearing, have an auditory processing disorder, or experience sensory overload.
- Read aloud questions and comments submitted via chat or Q&A.
- Why? Reading aloud a question prior to answering or a comment prior to responding supports people with visual and/or cognitive access needs as well as alerts everyone to the focus of the conversation in that moment. This is especially critical when chats are active and may be difficult to follow.
Suggestions & Reminders for Event Organizers
Event Attendees Access Needs and/or Accommodation Requests
Each special event should include a way for possible attendees to indicate access needs and/or accommodation requests. This information should be reviewed frequently and requests should be fulfilled by the section.
- Identify one person who will keep track of this information and follow up with individuals who indicate they have access needs and/or accommodation requests.
- Clearly indicate how individuals with access needs and/or accommodation requests may contact the selected person.
- If registration is required for your event, include the following field or similar language in your form:
- Do you have access needs and/or accommodation requests? If so, please share them below. Please direct questions to: (selected email address)
We encourage all sections to automatically provide CART captioning for their various events. AAA works with The Kyle Duarte Company, which has been vetted for high quality captioning of anthropological academic content. If your section is interested in coordinating services, please contact us. Note that if your special event receives a CART request, that must be honored.
- Note: While person-provided real-time captioning is the preferred accessibility standard, if your section needs to consider financial constraints, Zoom and Google Meet both provide AI captions that work well for most everyday conversation. Please note that the AI captioning may struggle with academic jargon and discipline-specific terminology.
- During the event, provide instructions to attendees for how to activate captions. This may differ from platform to platform.
If you receive an ASL request, please contact us through the AAA Contact Form, option “Accessibility.” We will connect you with The Kyle Duarte Company, which has been vetted for high quality interpretation of anthropological academic content.
Supplemental Digital Documents
If you plan to provide digital documents during your meetings, such as slide shows, programs, agendas, and so on, please review our accessible document tips pages:
Learn More about Virtual Accessible Meetings and Events
Check out Rooted in Rights’ article on “How to Make Your Virtual Meetings and Events Accessible to the Disability Community“.