Making Sure Your Digital Event Is ADA Compliant

Author: Convene Editors       


In the PCMA Catalyst community, two event planners asked what ADA requirements they need to meet in order to hold an inclusive digital event.

PCMA’s Catalyst community offers members a platform to ask each other questions, share ideas, or, as the website says, “communicate and collaborate.” Here’s a sampling from a recent Catalyst discussion.

ADA Requirements for Digital Events

What Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements should event planners consider when planning a digital event? Yolanda Simmons Battle, CMP, senior manager, meetings, for the American Health Information Management Association, and Darlene Somers, CMP, DES, senior meetings manager for the Association Management Center, both recently posed this question to the PCMA Catalyst community.

We’ve been developing a few different ways to meet ADA compliance with some of our clients’ virtual events. This can range from having a PiP [picture in picture] in a window with someone doing sign-language interpretation, having closed-captioning services, or associated text handouts to go along with the virtual presentation.

The other piece is making sure that your website or virtual streaming service is ADA compliant. There are some articles you can look up referring to the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) and Section 508 of the ADA code that will explain in great detail what basic steps you need to follow.

— Troy Peters, Vice President of Marketing & Business Development, Video West, Inc.

We happen to be working on a virtual event for a disabilities show. There are quite a few requirements regarding color contrast, text size, closed caption, audio description, etc. We also have essentially duplicated the site with a screen reader version so everything has tags for compliance. There is certainly a lot to consider.

— Wendy Freiwald, Director of Global Sales, ACT/EXPOCAD

At a minimum, at low cost to no cost, you can incorporate closed captioning. Both PowerPoint and Google Slides both support live closed captions (subtitles) while you are presenting. Take a look at this YouTube video that demonstrates the automatic closed captions.

Follow these steps to set it up and test it in advance:

PowerPoint closed captioning

Google Slides closed captioning

Alternatively, your web conferencing tool may offer closed-captioning features or, if using Zoom, the meeting host may designate a participant to type the closed captions live during the Zoom. If closed captioning is set up in a Zoom event, you can follow these instructions to view the subtitles.

— Silke Fleischer, Co-Founder, ATIV Software/EventPilot

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