Inclusion in Events – Accessibility Checklist
Fear of Leaving Them Out
Events’ success is not solely tied to the glitz and glamor. That, any organizer / occasion is capable of executing. Events, afar from their initial reason to be held, can be evaluated by the moral impact they leave behind.
It is all in the details and logistics behind coordinating and arranging to set up any kind of event, and that is inclusive of taking consideration of every single person that might be attending it. It is a no brainer here that we are mentioning the people of determination.
Did We Just Question What Has Been Socially Normalized? The HELL we did!
Every single BODY is the phrase I will put emphasis on to tap into the neglected reality of the importance of events that foster equal experiences for everyone.
There is no doubt that a wide variety of physical and non-physical challenges are linked to many individuals out there, but does this give everyone else the right to segment the audience and restrict the experiences and access to events to an unreasonably culturally normalized category?
The Least We Can Do (aka, it is not even acceptable if we don’t)
I will not, just right now, delve into who, when and why is everything around us built for the ease of a certain category (definitely not the people of determination category). Yet, what we are capable of, is nurturing and cultivating the culture of inclusion by taking into consideration the wide spectrum of challenges that many of us face. How? From an events’ organization POV, taking care of the details is the right way to tackle this, and below is the basic list that should be ticked to maximize inclusion to ensure no individual is left out.
Buckle up, adjust your eyeglasses, lean closer to your screen and take notes!
Where do I halt those wheels!?
Scene One (let’s treat this as a scenario)
Your event is today and one of the attendees, an individual with determination just arrived. Will he or she find an adequate spot to park their vehicle? Is the parking spot designated to their needs available? Accessibility requires a wider parking space with vertical clearance to fit the wheelchairs.
Scene one CUT – Part 2!
Ramp – Pedestrian Crossing
Same attendee, all parked and ready, is he or she ready to safely hit the road? is there a ramp or even better, a pedestrian passage that guarantees a safe and sooth move from point A to point B?
Push – Pull (maybe just open automatically)
Doors that can actually be opened
Post parking & heading to the door, check out that door. Is it automatic within an easy handle reach? Accessible features within an event start with a door that is customed suit all needs. A clear sign on where it is located, a reachable handle and a small ramp for individuals on wheelchairs.
In, What’s Next?
Level Up – Elevator in Need
Scene three, guest is in, for any given reason he / she cannot take the stairs and your event is not accessible via a flat ground floor track. Is an elevator around? If an elevator does exist, is it big enough to accommodate a wheelchair? Good question. Another transportation element to ensure is in place for a smooth visitor journey.
Battery Low – Socket Hunt on!
Importance of electrical plugs, cable extensions & sockets
We are definitely not tackling a phone battery concern here but an electrical wheelchair that might need recharging. It would be very considerate and professional to have a cable extension at hand.
All Ears, All Eyes!
Importance of Transcripts & Captions for Videos Played
It is of no doubt how crucial and critical it is to facilitate attendees’ engagement at all levels in any event. Providing captioned videos and sign language interpretations. Every human being despite of any lack of senses functionality, deserve to be immersed and comprehend what content is being shared throughout any event.
Nature Calls, We Respect the Call!
Handle support as needed
It might be a detail that does not come across your mind as often, but as much as setting restrooms / making sure restrooms exist in any venue is important, as much as it is crucial to ensure at least one restroom is spacious enough with a handle support is available.
Move Away to Get Together
Mind your Space
Extra space is required around people of determination, whatever their condition is. Especially ones using wheelchairs. Providing a considerate space between seats, pathways and platforms will ease their attendance and spare them the confusion and embarrassment of having to ask people around them to move away so they adjust their positions.
Is it a Bon Appetit Situation?
Clear Menus, Clear Consciousness
Licking those plates clean will be more satisfying when the organizers and attendees alike are aware of the dishes’ components & ingredients. Checking post event on the confirmed attendees’ allergies and food preferences will definitely raise your events’ game a notch (or 2). Always mention the presence of any allergens in your plates / kitchen so you are guilt free and extremely mindful.
My list will go on and on and on
Will have to put an end to the list above as the traditional challenges that usually are overlooked were listed already. The latter and much more are crucial as enhancers of diversity which enriches the essence of any society.
When we dedicate our efforts during organizing events towards inclusiveness, we don’t just meet the physical needs of people with determination, we also allow real magic to take place. Inclusion and accessibility open up a world of potential by removing day to day obstacles to enrich a sense of community which serves everyone without any fail.