How to Create More Accessible Virtual Events in 2023
While virtual events are more accessible than in-person events, organizations must embrace accessibility, equity, and inclusivity when it comes to building strategies for 2023 and beyond. Over 2 billion people globally live with some sort of disability, and a significant number of these are audio or visual impairments. Two hundred seventeen million people worldwide have moderate to severe vision impairment, and over 1.5 billion people live with hearing loss. As so many people struggle to interact with virtual events without an added layer of accessibility, creating an inclusive, welcoming environment during an event is key.
The Rise of Accessibility in Virtual Events
While many strides have been made to make technology, websites, and online events more accessible, there are still ways to enhance the experience. Physically, virtual events already add extra accessibility as they don’t require travel, walking across a large conference hall, climbing stairs, or other movements that might be more difficult for some people. A recent study also showed that online events gather a more diverse audience. People can tune in on their own schedules from home and immerse themselves in content the way they prefer.
3 Best Practices for Accessible Virtual Events
As organizations continue to reimagine accessibility in virtual events, here are a few best practices. Encourage your audience to provide feedback as well on what could make your events easier to watch and absorb.
1. Embrace Captioning and Live Translations
With 91% of viewers watching videos without sound, captioning boosts engagement, increases comprehension, and extends viewing times. Without captions, research shows that when people can’t understand or hear a speaker, they quickly tune out, leaving your event less effective and hurting your business revenue. Verizon Media research also showed that people are 80% more likely to watch your video if you have captions. GlobalMeet Webcast offers captioning and live human event interpretation in multiple languages to make your event inclusive across global audiences.
2. Give Attendees a Heads-Up on What to Expect
Make sure the agenda is prepped and available ahead of time, so your attendees can know what to expect. This allows them to make any necessary accommodations before the event starts, and cognitively, our brains are constantly working hard to figure out what’s coming next.
Some key items to include:
- Start and finish times.
- Speaker bios and session descriptions.
- Any social interaction that will be encouraged, like break out rooms or participating in the chat or polls.
3. Survey Your Audience Beforehand to Understand Their Needs
Confused about where to start on making your virtual event more accessible? Just ask your audience! A quick pre-event survey that asks for their viewing preferences, preferred language, and any other accommodations makes people feel comfortable and heard ahead of time. Avoid spending tons of time guessing what your audience needs, only to find out after the event they wanted something totally different.
Use GlobalMeet Webcast for More Accessible Virtual Events
GlobalMeet Webcast builds an inclusive culture that breaks down language barriers, fosters team building, and improves accessibility and inclusivity. Make your events welcoming to all audiences across the world with an innovative webcasting platform that scales as you do. Contact us today to learn more.