Planning a temporary event involves a lot of hard work. Finding a suitable location, hiring staff, investing in food and drink, appointing security … it’s certainly a challenge, even for a small event lasting just a few hours.
But there’s one aspect of planning a temporary event which is, sadly, often overlooked: accessibility.
Making your event accessible to people affected by blindness or impaired vision (and other conditions) is important, to ensure everyone feels welcome. And this is especially true if your temporary event is actually in aid of a charity or organization supporting people living with disabilities.
So, what steps should you take?
Involve People Living with Disabilities in the Planning Process
If you only follow one of our tips, make sure it’s this one.
Involving people affected by blindness or impaired vision in planning your event reduces the risk of mistakes or oversights. For example, a group of planners with no experience of vision-related problems could easily setup an event that’s not just inaccessible — but actually dangerous.
Look to your community and local organizations to find people with first-hand knowledge of common risks and frustrations. Their help in planning your temporary event is invaluable.
Search for Staff with Relevant Skills or Training
Hiring the right staff to run your event has a big impact on accessibility. Make a point to find workers with training in sign language or experience of working with those affected by disabilities.
If you have a team of people you usually work with, consider investing in relevant training for them. For instance, you can invest in microlearning as it can revolutionize your company training. This refers to any content that is short and focuses on a specific topic or outcome of the course rather than a full course containing a variety of topics. This means more engaged employees and better training outcomes. However, before embarking on this journey, it would be good to learn about microlearning in detail (like you can learn about the four primary types of microlearning, when can they be appropriate for you, and how can you implement them). Know that it can prove useful in the future too, not just for this temporary event.
If you have a team of people you usually work with, consider investing in relevant training for them. It’ll prove useful in the future too, not just for this temporary event. If you are struggling with sourcing the right talent for your events, due to employee turnover and other factors where you have lost your talent, it can be very difficult to source the right people for the job in a short period of time. In this case, some companies have found it useful to work with a temp staffing agency to improve the efficiency of the talent scouting process.
Invest in Indoor Orientation Technology
Indoor orientation technology empowers people with sight-related conditions to explore locations with more independence and freedom. While they may rely on GPS to guide them outdoors, they can end up struggling to find their way in interiors. And asking strangers for help is far from ideal, especially if you’re shy or have social difficulties.
RightHear’s indoor orientation solution leverages cutting-edge sensor technology to deliver audio directions through the user’s smartphone. The app is easy to use and reacts to the user’s position, providing clear information on what lies ahead.
Plan Your Site’s Layout for Utmost Safety
Keep accessibility in mind when planning the temporary event’s layout. Bringing people affected by blindness or vision impairments aboard makes this much easier.
A few points to consider:
All walkways should be free of obstacles and barriers (they could cause injury)
Make sure all signage is clear for people with poor vision, with large print and contrasting colors. Event planners might even look for steel flagpoles for sale to display large flags. This should make it easier for those with impaired vision to find the event.
All stairs should have a handrail and, ideally, reflective stripes to aid visibility
Place staff at strategic locations around the site, so assistance is always nearby
Planning a temporary event carries considerable responsibility. You have to make it inviting, welcoming and accessible to all members of your community who may want to attend.
During or after the event, gather feedback from visitors living with disabilities to help when planning others in the future.
We are proud to make the M-Enabling Summit Conference accessible for the third consecutive year.