Event Accessibility


The following information is designed to support accessibility planning that will foster full participation during events.  Planning for access in advance will optimize the opportunity for access of all participants and minimize the need to make last minute changes. An inclusively-designed event ensures the participation of all.

From University of Maryland -39:44

Meeting and Event Accessibility
It is the expectation of the department event planner to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities and to design accessible events.  Pre-planning for comprehensive accessibility often reduces the need for individual accommodations.

Keep accessibility in mind when planning

  • At minimum, ask participants up front about their accessibility needs.  
  • For streaming or Zoom events, have captions available and a recording with materials available.
  • When possible, include people with disabilities in all stages of event planning.
  • Consider the date and time of your event to minimize barriers related to length of day, number and duration of breaks throughout the event, availability of transportation, and religious observances.
  • Designate a person in your department or on your team for the event or meeting to do the following:
    • Receive, confirm, and track all accessibility requests from participants.
    • Manage and implement accommodations.
    • Communicate accommodations arrangements with participants and staff. 
    • Identify assistants who will be available to help with access-related tasks.
    • Coordinate all materials for accessible distribution several days in advance. 
    • Request interpreters and captioners at least two weeks in advance.

Ask from the beginning

When sending out invitations, include a message to gather information, such as:
“We make every effort to create inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to participate fully. If you have any accessibility requests or needs, please let us know. To request an accommodation or for inquiries about accessibility, please contact (name, email, phone).”

You may also want to consider a checklist that includes

  • Assistive listening device
  • Captioning
  • Written transcript
  • Reserved front row seating
  • Large print
  • Advance copy of slides to be projected
  • Wheelchair access
  • Wheelchair access to working tables throughout room
  • Lactation room
  • Gender neutral bathroom
  • Diet restrictions
  • Other 

Make sure to follow up on all requests received. If it appears you will be unable to meet a specific request, follow up with the individual who made the request to determine whether an alternative arrangement can be made.

Evaluate your spaces

Conduct an early site visit to clarify accessibility and what may require additional planning related to

  • Entrances and elevators.
  • Clear signage.
  • Restrooms (accessible, all-gender, and transfer table availability).
  • A refrigerator and microwave for those bringing food.
  • Sufficient accessible parking and transportation.
  • Projection screen visible from all seating.
  • Audio technology (microphones, listening devices).
  • Temperature control and lighting considerations.
  • Quiet spaces.
  • Location of electrical outlets for those needing adaptive devices or laptops.
  • Ensure space is large enough.
  • Plan for wheelchair-accessible seating and paths throughout the space.
  • Provide a variety of seating and table options (e.g. table heights, styles, sizes).
  • Confirm emergency protocols and request changes needed for people with disabilities (e.g. elevator use during a fire).
  • Identify other events at the same venue that day and plan to reduce access barriers (e.g. managing noise level).
  • Avoid decorations in pathways, flash/strobe effects, latex balloons, and fog machines.

Zoom - Zoom provides accessibility options. Please visit the Zoom website for assistance

Service Animals – Consider access and space for service dogs

At Event

  • Post directional signs and station greeters at all entry points, elevators, and stairs.
  • Use an inclusive check-in process (consider table height, amount of noise, number of staff, flow of check-in process).
  • Avoid background music.
  • Brief all staff about accessibility plans.
  • Set up clear and spacious paths outside and inside.
  • Ask photographers to not use flash and seek permission before photographing people.


  • Introduce the accessibility point person.
  • Give clear directions to accessible and all-gender bathrooms. 
  • Ask all participants to say their names before speaking.
  • Invite participants to take breaks for self-care.
  • Share emergency protocols.
  • Identify quiet spaces. 


Provide presenters with a checklist requesting that they:

  • Submit materials in advance so that they can be forwarded to individuals who may not be able to view screens or flip charts;
  • Verbally describe visual materials (e.g., slides, charts, etc.);
  • Have printed copies available;
  • Avoid using small print on presentations that can’t be seen from a distance;
  • Ensure speakers (including those asking questions) always use a microphone;
  • Activate captions on any video used in the presentation;
  • Encourage breaks and processing time during Q & A


  • Clearly label and indicate allergens and gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, or other options.
  • Always consider a wide variety of options when selecting food/refreshments for events.

Communication and Real Time Captioning (CART) and Sign Language Interpreting

The following companies are recommended for providing CART or sign language.


Sign Language Interpreting: 


For additional assistance and inquiries, please contact access@uarts.edu