Meetings are a part of our daily work life. There are three general types of meetings:
Sometimes they overlap. In-room meetings include additional participants via either an audio conference or webinar technology. In such cases, accessibility requirements depend on how the interested part desires to participate in the meeting.
Whenever archiving a meeting for access by state employees, the content must be accessible. For example, if saving as a video, then it must be captioned.
Any time you're organizing a meeting, you should think about accessibility. You need to offer accommodations if:
You know at least one or more persons with disabilities may participate;
You're sending the invitation to a large group or entire department or division;
You're posting the announcement in a public or semi-public forum
Meeting Announcement or Invitations
When announcing a meeting, conference call or webcast, specify any accommodations you are providing. For example:
We will be providing CART for remote attendees and ASL interpreters on site. If you require any other accommodations, please contact [name/contact info] by [date]
If you are not planning accommodations, then provide contact information and a deadline to send accommodation requests. For example:
If you require an accommodation, please contact [name/contact info] by [date].
The accommodation you will need may depend on the type of meeting you are hosting. If you don't understand the request or don't know how to obtain the service, feel free to ask the requestor. Just remember to ask about the service, not the disability.
MMD has a master contract for accommodation services such as ASL interpreters and CART. See the Resources tab for additional contracting information.
Use these guidelines when preparing and presenting slides. [PPT]
Please review the Presenting tab for additional guidelines.
Phone Conference Calls
If a state employee requests CART as an accommodation, check with your agency’s ADA Coordinator. Chances are, you have a PO you can use to request the service. Why CART instead of captioning? Simply put, captioning is related to video access, while CART supports audio-only access.
Skype Audio Meetings
Skype calls are through the internet. As a result, deaf and hard of hearing participants cannot use the relay service, as that is limited to calls that use a ten-digit phone number. Work with the person requesting the accommodation to determine the best solution. Examples can include:
Conduct the entire call via text chat. Everyone types and everyone reads.
Set up the audio conference with a service that uses a phone number.
Hire a CART provider.
The most common way to caption a webinar is through CART services. If the webinar technology supports on-screen captioning, the CART provider most likely can hook into that system. If not, the provider will use a third-party technology and give you a link you can distribute to participants to access the live transcript.
If you need to provide CART support for both onsite and remote participants, inform the CART vendor in advance. They will need to be prepared to connect both to an in-room display and the remote feed. If the writer is on site, they will also need a reliable Ethernet jack that enables them to stream data.
Check with your webinar services manager if you’re not sure whether your software supports on-screen captioning. If you are presenting to a large remote audience (over 200 attendees), confirm that your software’s license supports that that many connections.
Go to the Resources section to learn how to set up these services.
Good presentation techniques are critical regardless of whether an attendee has self-identified as having a disability. Some participants may not ask for an accommodation as they may simply use their relay provider to access the call. Participants who are blind or have low vision may either ask for an audio describer or simply request that the speaker describe visual content.
Standard best practices for any gathering include:
Perform introductions. At minimum the key speakers. If the group is small enough, all the attendees.
Be a facilitator. Encourage participation. Ask for comments and input.
Ensure everyone takes turns. If multiple hands go up, announce the speaker order.
When describing visual content, focus on meaning or action.
Ensure each speaker self-identifies before speaking ("This is Diane...").
Repeat or summarize the question before answering.
Ask if anyone on the call has a question or comment, then hold a pause for at least a minute to enable a response.
Remember, these techniques help everyone, especially when there are remote attendees.
Visit the Resources tab for checklists and other supports.
All audio files must be transcribed. A link to an audio file should also provide a link to the transcript.
All recorded material must be captioned.
For YouTube videos:
Do not rely on the automated captioning feature
Do feed an accurate transcript into YouTube's auto-timing and caption file creation feature (visit the Captioning tab for more information)
For WebEx or other MN.IT supported systems, please ask your service delivery rep.
The audio in all recorded video must effectively describe key visuals
Have the speaker include key visuals (as you see, the chart shows a 63% increase)
Leverage sound effects (when showing a lake or river in a video montage, use the sound of a boat wake or waves lapping on shore)
If you can't account for all informative visuals, hire a describer (visit the Description section of the Multimedia page for more information ) to create a second audio track that users can activate for description
There are many different types of accommodations a person may request. The most common are:
ASL (sign language) interpreter
CART (live stenotype transcription service)
The Department of Administration has master contracts to help source the appropriate vendor.
When adding captions to a video (live or recorded), use a captioning provider (via the P/T program Access-IT).
To obtain ASL interpreters, use MMD's master contract for sign language services. There are specific guidelines on the number of interpreters required for an event based on meeting length and other variables.
For live text transcript support for meeting, conference call, or webinar, use CART, also via the master contract for CART services. How to deliver the CART service depends on the type of meeting application. In conference calls, the CART provider typically provides a separate link to the CART transcript. Some, conferencing applications support inserting the transcript into a live captioning display.
When providing additional audio information for recorded media, use an audio describer (via the P/T program Access-IT).
There is a proposed bill for a centralized accommodations fund to pay for such services. For the time being, the agency or department hosting the meeting must pay for the services.