Making Events More Accessible

William & Mary is committed to making its programs and events accessible to members of our community and visitors to campus with disabilities. This page serves as a resource for departments who host or sponsor events on campus. These tips and easy, low-cost suggestions make events and programs more accessible. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and some information and examples may not apply to your specific event or program.

Advanced Requests

It is particularly helpful when planning events that require registration or an RSVP to ask guests if they need an accommodation. Here is some suggested language you can include with your event information:

If you need an accommodation related to a disability, please contact [event contact person's phone number and email address] no later than [provide a specific date. Typically 10 days prior to the event date]. Accommodation requests received later than [above date] will be provided to the extent possible.

If you are unsure whether or not you can provide a specific accommodation request, you can discuss potential alternatives with the guest. You may also contact the ADA/504 Coordinator, Carla Costello, at [[cacostello]] for assistance. 

When events are open to the public and/or do not require a response or registration to attend, the following tips can help make events and programs more accessible for everyone.

Rooms/Seating

It is always a good idea to look at the space you are reserving for an event. When planning for accessibility consider the following:

  • Line of sight. Ensure that screen(s)/stage is visible from all seating areas.
  • Reserve some seats in the front row for those who may have vision or hearing impairments.
  • Reserve seating for those with limited mobility.
  • When feasible, remove a couple of chairs on the end of every other row to allow wheelchair/scooter access. This approach allows persons using wheelchairs or scooters to sit in various locations.
  • For fixed seating areas, ensure there is wheelchair/scooter space available (ground level if in an auditorium or stadium) and provide a companion seat.
  • Keep pathways free from barriers.
  • Inform attendees of the location of accessible restrooms near the event space.
Parking
Speakers and Visual Presentation/Presentation Materials

When there is a guest speaker or a presentation at an event or program consider the following:

  • Use handheld microphones to pass to audience members or others who may speak or ask questions during a presentation. This allows everyone to hear the conversation.
  • Asking the presenter to provide written copies of any presentation materials (PowerPoint, for example). Copies can be provided at the event, or if possible, provided ahead of time.
  • Printed copies of presentation materials should be in 16-18 point font and double spaced.
  • If there are handouts, make sure they are printed in 16-18 point font and double spaced.
  • PowerPoint or other presentation slides should be 36 point font with a maximum of 6 lines of text per slide.
  • Basic contrast colors should be used (e.g. black font on a white background).
  • If there are concerns about information being distributed outside the presentation, a notation can be added to any document stating Not For Distribution. Ask attendees to return any presentation materials at the end of the event.
  • Consider utilizing Zoom Video Conferencing, which provides accessibility features.
  • Activate captions on any video used in a presentation.

 

Last Updated September 2019