Remote meetings and video calls seem to the be norm in our post pandemic lives, but which platforms are taking the W3C recommendations on accessibility on in earnest?
Remote meetings are something that has become a major part of everything we do. During COVID-19, using tools like Zoom, Teams or Google Meet have not only been useful, but essential for many of us keeping in touch with family, the grandkids and our social groups like ASCCA clubs.
Recently the international group that produces accessibility guidance, the W3C, has published information on how best to make our meetings accessible for groups such as seniors with disability. I’m particularly happy to see this release as I was the lead architect of the note so its great to have the information out there. The note has a lot of information in it, but here are a few of my favourite tips.
Firstly, if you’re using presentation slides or a document to work on, check that it is accessible and provide a copy to participants before the meeting.
In PowerPoint or Word you can check its accessible by going to the Review tab and clicking on ‘Check Accessibility’, just near the editor button.
Follow the prompts and the document will be more accessible.
When the meeting is running, record the meeting and make sure that the Chat text is also saved.
For many disability groups they can’t get to the Chat box during the meeting, so having a record of it afterwards helps to get those important links and discussions shared during the meeting.
Finally, if you have a person who is Deaf in the meeting, pin the sign language interpreter so its always on screen, then have everyone turn their videos off except for the person speaking. This means that the person who is Deaf can see both the interpreter and can always identify which person is speaking.
Also Zoom, Teams and Google Meet all support automated captions, turn them on so that when someone speaks it can also be read on the screen.
These are just a few of the tips in the document. To read more, visit the W3C page
Dr Scott Hollier
ASCCA Director – Accessibility