inclusive session tips & tricks

Below you will find some tips and tricks for hosting an inclusive and accessible AEA Conference session.

Accessibility and inclusion take many forms, and are highly individual and context-specific. This set of suggestions is NOT EXHAUSTIVE, but intended as a jumping-off point to support presenters in planning their sessions.

Many of the recommendations are universally designed to improve access and inclusion for ALL attendees.

General Tips: 

  • Start your session with an accessibility check-in. Confirm with your audience that everyone has what they need to participate and are able to see slides and hear the speakers. 
  • Make your slides available at the beginning of your talk (QR codes are great for this). This enables individuals to access your content on their own devices, which may be formatted to meet their needs. 

Auditory Inclusion 

  • All speakers use the microphone provided for your session. During Q&A, repeat the questions from the audience into the mic. This will amplify sound.
  • Limit cross-talk and interruptions. These can interfere with Closed Caption accuracy, lip-reading, interpreter services, and more.
  • In breakout sessions, encourage participants to seek spaces that will suit their needs. Breakouts in small conference rooms may be too loud to support hearing aids and other devices. If alternative spaces aren’t available, keep breakout groups small to support lip-reading and proximity.
  • Some common devices used to support auditory participation: Hearing Aids, Roger Pens, Sign-Language Interpreters, Lip-reading, and Closed Captioning.

Visual Inclusion 

  • Provide a description of yourself. This gives information about the speaker that non-blind people take in visually.
  • When presenting slides with images or figures, provide a verbal description for the audience.
  • Add alt text to images in your presentation. Viewers using a screen reader will hear pictures and figures described.
  • Ensure sufficient color contrast in slides. Color should not be the only means of conveying information. More info on accessible visualizations
  • Font size should be large enough to read from the distance that it will be presented. Given conference room sizes, err large (36 pt. minimum is a good rule).
  • Common Devices used to support visual participation: Screen Readers, Descriptive text