With so many people providing online programs and services individually or through a business platform during the COVID crisis, successful virtual events are quickly becoming the norm. Hence, accessibility has become a critical issue.
What Is an Online Event?
It may seem obvious, but an online event is any event that you host online. This includes demos, webinars, masterclasses, Q+as, panels, and interviews with celebrities or industry leaders. On a larger scale, it can consist of conferences, company-wide gatherings, and virtual trade shows.
Online Event Production allows you to host them from anywhere globally while also giving direct access to the speaker, building trust with attendees. The best aspect is that apart from preventing you from health risks, they enable you to enjoy an informative and entertaining session at home. They also save you money, increase engagement globally, generate leads, and help you establish yourself or your clients as industry leaders.
How Can You Make Your Online Events Easily Accessible?
Here are some useful tips to help you make your successful virtual events and digital content more accessible and comprehensive.
1. Give Step-by-Step Instructions
Attendees may join the video conference through various platforms, such as mobile, laptop, tablet or iPad. Therefore, it’s essential to provide thorough, easy-to-understand instructions. Event management companies can do this by sending detailed instruction manuals, including images showing participants where to go, what to click and when, software to download, how the event homepage should look, how to join the meeting, etc.
2. Consider the Gadgets the Attendees Might Be Using
Since virtual events can be joined through any device, it’s essential to remember that people could be attending your event on their mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop. Hence, as part of your online event production, you should make sure there are no technical issues from your end. Even if they occur, inform the attendees beforehand that you will be recording the session so that they can watch it later too. Moreover, since mobiles have the smallest screens, when you are using slides, keep the text on each slide to a minimum, and increase the font size, so it’s readable.
3. Support Attendees Who Can Only Join via Mobiles
Event management companies should select a platform that supports mobile devices with their interactive features, so attendees can join no matter where they are. Make sure attendees have the option to dial-in by mobile. For this purpose, you can choose popular videoconferencing software’s, such as Zoom and Google Hangouts. This will help people with visual impairments and those who cannot afford using other devices because of a disability.
RespectAbility (a nonprofit dedicated to fighting stigmas and providing opportunities to people with disabilities) recommends that all speakers and hosts call out their names when they begin speaking. They should also describe any visual elements they refer to and read aloud the attendees’ comments through a live chat platform. Moderators should also ensure that audio-only participants are on mute when they are not speaking.
4. Choose the Right Format
Once you decide your topic (make sure it’s an interesting one, because the content is the key), it’s time to decide what format you will use. For successful virtual events, use formats that are easy to read and don’t make the text look cluttered. Keep trying until you find the one that will be most successful with your audience and easiest for you to implement.
Find below some popular formats for your Online Event production:
- Single presenter: One presenter can share their tips or insights.
- Dual presenters: Different perspectives from different presenters can help inform and occupy the audience.
- Panel: A group of experts can speak on a particular topic.
- Q&A: An expert, or panel of experts, can answer the questions your audience asks through live chat or social media.
- Interview: You can call a famous influencer as a guest speaker to increase attendees.
- Product demo: You can promote a product by giving a tutorial or doing a product demonstration to showcase what you are selling.
- AMA: You can also host an “Ask Me Anything” to allow your followers to get more familiar with you and your brand.
5. Avoid Flashing Effects in Presentations
For a successful virtual event, it is vital to make everyone feel welcome in your event. This may include attendees who have light sensitivity – such as photosensitive epilepsy. Therefore, avoid using GIFs, videos, high-intensity lights or effects with strobing.
Besides, the World Wide Web Consortium, an international standards organization for the web, recommends that visual presentations should consider the following:
- Use clear fonts that are easy to read; the Bureau of Internet Accessibility suggests using Helvetica, Arial, Lucida Sans, Verdana, or Tahoma.
- Text and images of texts should have sufficient colour contrast – light text with a dark background, or vice versa.
- The text should not entirely be justified and line spacing having at least a space-and-a-half within paragraphs. Paragraph spacing should be at least 1.5 times greater than the line spacing.
6. Provide Closed Captioning
As mentioned above, your online event production should consider every type of person who may want to join your online event. Therefore, you can also use closed captions- they are crucial for people with hearing loss. You can also close caption for free using tools such as Subtitle Horse and Amara.
However, instead of using pre-recorded materials, live transcription services, also known as communication access real-time translation, can provide a better experience to people with hearing loss through a live presentation. Respect Ability recommends companies such as StreamText, Transcription Star, and 1CapApp, which provide live transcription services. Unlike automatic speech recognition, a person giving live captions can provide context and understand complicated or industry-specific terms.
Virtual events are a fun and effective way to reach people all over the world. An online event production involves proper planning, strategic thinking, and precise marketing – but with these tips, you will be well on your way to success.