How to Make Events More Accessible

With 16% of the global population living with disabilities, accessibility is key in event planning. From small conferences to large festivals, prioritising inclusivity ensures a positive experience for all attendees. Read on to learn how to make events more accessible at every stage—before, during, and after!

Why accessibility at events matters

Accessibility at events isn't just about meeting legal standards under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. Rather, it's a key part of being an inclusive, respectful organiser. With many Australians living with disabilities, accessible events are essential to ensure everyone can participate and enjoy them. This commitment not only aligns with Australian values of diversity and equality but also shows that you care about all attendees' experiences.

How to make your events more accessible before, during, and after

We'll show you how to include accessibility in events at each step of your planning process. Consider this your checklist for planning accessible meetings and events, ensuring inclusivity from start to finish.

What to do before the event

Here’s how to make events more accessible during the initial planning stage:

1. Send pre-event surveys

Send out surveys to understand the specific needs of attendees, which can cover a wide range of accessibility concerns. Ticketleap lets you add custom registration questions at checkout to help you with these tasks. This way, ticket buyers can let you know about any special needs they may have.  

2. Ensure the venue is well lit

Consider the impact of strobes and dim lights on people with vision impairments, epilepsy, and those on the spectrum. Use clear signage for directions and locations. And ensure the visibility of projection screens from all seats in your event venue.

3. Test venue accessibility

Check for nearby parking or public transit, elevator/ramp access, and easily locatable gender-neutral bathrooms. Also, confirm the availability of electrical outlets for laptops and adaptive devices.

4. Communicated accessibility info

Clearly communicate accessibility features in your event page and materials. Adding a simple line like ‘our conference is wheelchair accessible’ lets attendees with disabilities know what to expect. But ensure you use simple, readable text and include symbols that indicate available resources and accommodations. 

5. Check your event tech

If you’re using an event app or website, ensure they are accessible to people with various disabilities—including those who use assistive technologies. Ticketleap can be of great help here! Our platform is designed to enhance accessibility, ensuring a seamless experience for all.

6. Consider inclusive marketing

Use diverse imagery and inclusive language in your marketing materials to represent a broad spectrum of attendees.

7. Be flexible in rules and dress codes

Avoid strict rules that may be challenging for people on the spectrum. For attendees who become overstimulated by lights and sounds, allowing caps or headphones can help.

8. Reevaluate your entrance fee

Consider waiving the entrance fee for companions of guests with disabilities, as they are often essential for assistance.

What to do during the event

Wondering how to make events more inclusive during the event? Here are a few tips to help! 

1. Address individual needs

Stay proactive in addressing the varying needs of attendees. This includes ensuring sign language interpretation and catering to dietary restrictions. Communicate available services clearly in invites and announcements.

2. Make communication lines accessible

For large events, setting up an “accessibility desk” near the entrance can provide direct support for attendees with disabilities. You can complement this by adding a dedicated hotline for assistance.

3. Manage seating and layout

Prioritise seating for persons with disabilities and ensure that pathways are free from obstructions. Doorways and aisles should be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs, scooters, and service animals.

4. Make presentations accessible

Ensure that slides and presentations are accessible, with large fonts, high-quality images, and clear messaging. Consider offering audio descriptions and alternative formats like braille or large print materials.

5. Provide a real-time feedback loop

Set up a system for real-time feedback, such as a text line or app feature, allowing attendees to report accessibility issues immediately.

6. Include accessibility ambassadors

Have volunteers or staff specifically trained to assist with accessibility needs. Also, ensure they’re easily identifiable by attendees.

7. Create relaxed zones

Create areas where attendees can retreat from sensory overload, a key consideration for neurodivergent individuals.

What to do after the event

Accessibility continues even after your event ends! Follow these best practices for engaging with attendees afterwards to maintain inclusivity. 

1. Provide inclusive event swag

Offer swag items like T-shirts in neutral colours and various sizes, and consider the practicality of items for those travelling. Small, easy-to-carry items like laptop stickers can be a thoughtful choice.

2. Collect feedback

Post-event, reach out to guests to enquire about their comfort and ability to participate fully. Use this feedback to learn and improve future events.

3. Make sure your follow-up communications are inclusive

Ensure all post-event communications, like thank you emails and surveys, are accessible and consider using multiple formats.

4. Share your learnings

If you can, post a blog or report about the accessibility measures taken at the event and the outcomes. This will go a long way towards educating and inspiring others in the industry.

5. Engage with the community

Build a community around your events that continues the conversation about accessibility and inclusivity, fostering ongoing improvements and advocacy.

Make your events more accessible!

We’ve covered everything you need to know in this accessible events guide! From getting your venue ready, looking after attendees during the event, to even thinking about the little things afterwards. And remember, Ticketleap is there to help make it happen! Use our ticketing and management tools to make your event planning smoother.