Accessibility of the space

Accessibility of the venue has a direct impact on full participation of those attending.

Prior to our co-design sessions, we provided all our participants with an Access Guide to familiarize them with the location, accessible entrances, washrooms, elevators, and any other accessibility features at the venue. We also informed participants of the accessibility services they could request, such as captions, sign language, audio description, large print, braille, etc.

At the beginning of each session, one of the facilitators provided a description of the space including the location of accessible entrances, washrooms and kitchen spaces. We ensured that participants with low vision were seated close to the monitor/screen to be able to see the slides. Workstations were set up to provide enough space for mobility devices and service animals. Extra seats were arranged for personal assistants and adjustable desks were included at each station to meet the needs of participants using mobility devices.

Our facilitation team provided ongoing assistance to participants upon their request (e.g walking to the facilities, helping with service animals, serving food, etc.). We also tried to remove unanticipated barriers as they emerged (e.g. moving a group to a new workstation due to glare, turning off loud ceiling fans to improve audibility).

TRY

  • Contact participants to identify their accessibility needs.
  • Develop a system to record their needs accurately and use that to guide your plan for the event.
  • Provide participants with information regarding the accessibility of the event space and a guide for their commute to the location in advance.
  • Survey the event space and collaborate with the participants and your partner organizations to ensure the setup of the space and equipment is accessible and meets the specific needs of the participants.
  • Identify any issues with the space, and trouble shoot to remove any barriers before or during the activity.
  • If you are unable to resolve accessibility barriers, inform participant of existing issues prior to the event.
  • Provide a detailed overview of the space including the location of accessible facilities on site (e.g. washroom, kitchen, etc.)
  • Provide support to participants during the event when requested (e.g. walk participant to the washroom or refreshment table, walk the service animal, etc.)

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