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Unlocking Potential The JISC TechDis Service Are Your Events Accessible? Accessible communications and inclusive practices for successful events Cary MacMahon Alistair McNaught (via Instant Presenter) 25 September 2008

The JISC TechDis Service...Unlocking Potential Easy conference calls •Multiple users on individual computers with headsets. •More users possible with teleconference equipment.

Jun 20, 2020



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  • Unlocking Potential

    The JISC TechDis Service

    Are Your EventsAccessible?

    Accessible communications and inclusivepractices for successful events

    Cary MacMahonAlistair McNaught (via Instant Presenter)

    25 September 2008

  • Unlocking Potential

    Welcome to the Pragmatic World ofthe JISC TechDis Advisory Service

    JISC TechDis aims to be the leading educational

    advisory service, working across the UK, in thefields of accessibility and inclusion.

    The JISC TechDis mission is to support theeducation sector in achieving greater accessibilityand inclusion by stimulating innovation andproviding expert advice and guidance on disabilityand technology.

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    Supporting Diverse Needs

    JISC TechDis is a co-locatedService within the HigherEducation Academy buildingin York.

    Supporting Institutions andpractitioners across HE, FE,the Independent SpecialistColleges, HE in FE, ACL, BCE,WBL, Offender Learning, andmore recently some schools.

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    Diverse Remit, Diverse Approaches

    • Holistic Approach, Standards, AccessibilityPassport.

    • Research and Funding Councils.• Provision of Staff Awareness and Training

    Materials to support inclusive practices.• Institutional Support and Advice (Helpdesk,

    Instant Presenter, Online Community area ofwebsite.

    • Working with key intermediaries:• RSC, JISC Teams, UALL, HEA SCs, AUA, CILIP,

    UCISA, AOC, UUK, AURIL, LLUK , etc etc etc…

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    Key Objectives for the Service• To influence the work of key partners to embed

    inclusive practice within their own practices: forexample, providing accessible documentation.

    • To adhere to best practice guidelines within corporatefunctions.

    • To give clear and timely advice and guidance toinstitutions and partners.

    • To embed the JISC TechDis materials whereappropriate into the work of partners.

    • To ensure JISC projects and outputs are accessible.

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    Forewarning: An Exercise!

    • Form into pairs with someone you do notknow well

    • Decide which of you is A and which is B• A – You have no spoken or written language

    skills. You can ‘sign’ (not by drawing outletters). If you know Sign Language please siton your hands!

    • B – you have 30 seconds to guess A’smother’s first name.

    • GO!

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    Forewarning: The Point?

    • Without any adjustments or forewarning,learning experiences – or events - can leavestudents – or delegates - completely in themire.

    • This is doubly true for disabled people - is thisfair?

    • If the ‘A’s had been forewarned of this activitya week ago, what could they have done toprepare? What assistive aids could they haveused?

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    Survey of the Use of e-Learning Resources inHistory, Classics and Archaeology (2005-2006)

    what makes a resource useable by and useful to anarchaeology lecturer (and their students)?

    resource which can be easily accessed by learners, n =77





    crucial very significantsignificant of some significance not significant no opinion

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    Pre-event planning

    • Accessible email – Alistair, via InstantPresenter…

    • The venue• Communicating and collaborating on the

    agenda• Pre-event communications with delegates

    and speakers• Event pack documentation

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    Pre-Event Administration – time and money

    • Budgetary considerations – for example, BSLinterpreters.

    • Timetable flexibility – for example, delegates mayrequire more time to move between rooms.

    • Time required for alternate document production.• Time required to ensure speakers are briefed on best

    practice presentation techniques – for example, usingan induction loop.

    • Time required to ensure speakers’ additionalrequirements are met.

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    The Venue• Ask the venue for their accessibility audit. They

    should have an understanding as to howaccessible their venue is.

    • Enquire as to any previous issues withaccessibility.

    • Visit the venue and tour the facilities. Tour theroutes you expect your delegates to take,ensuring no issues arise.

    • Check availability of accessible bedrooms andparking spaces.

    • Ask what disability awareness training theconference staff have undertaken.

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    Easy conference calls• Multiple users on individual computers with headsets.• More users possible with teleconference equipment.• Also allows file sharing and chat• Voice Over IP – effectively “internet phone”.• Several available e.g. Skype, JANET Talk.

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    Collaboration Tools – Google Docs

    • Online word processor allowing multipleusers to collaborate on a single document.

    • Can save in a number of formats including Microsoft® Word.

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    Collaboration Tools - MindMeister• Online mind mapping tool allowing multiple

    users to collaborate on a single mind map.• Can be exported to a number of formats including a document outline for Word and common mind mapping software.

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    Collaboration Tools –

    • Online collaboration and meeting tool.• Enables users to give presentations and hold

    meetings online.• Allows multiple users to collaborate on document content.• Also allows desktop sharing and audio and text chat.

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    Using chat to discuss the agenda (orother issues)

    • googlechat, MSN Messenger,• gabbly will automatically open over a web page.• Navigate the site and input your comments.• Useful where audio is not available.• No need to install software.• May be accessible where other

    messaging software (e.g. MSNMessenger) is blocked.

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    The agenda and conferencedocumentation: text style and format

    • The chosen font should be Sans Serif - forexample, Verdana, Arial and Helvetica.

    • Text should be no smaller than 12 point.• Underlining, capitalising or italicising large

    volumes of text should be avoided as thereadability is significantly decreased, considermaking the text bold instead.

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    Colour and contrast

    No recommendations here will be universal toall people; individual requirements must still betaken into consideration.• Ensure contrast between font colour and background.• Cream paper increases readability.• Coloured backgrounds should be a single solid

    colour.• For white text on dark background increase font

    depth.• Avoid red, green or pink coloured paper.

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    • Ensure left aligned text, avoiding the ‘rivers ofwhite space’.

    • Use sub headings and short paragraphs.• Use bullet points and lists.• Use short, concise single idea sentences.• Structure paragraphs coherently.

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    • Use clear, straightforward language.• Avoid unnecessary or complex words.• Ensure consistency of terminology.• Avoid slashed constructions, eg

    a and/or b.

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    The Accessibility Essentials series

    • 1. Making Electronic Documents More Readable(introducing accessibility as something that affects everyone,not just disabled people)

    • 2. Writing Accessible Electronic Documents with MicrosoftWord (showing step by step how to produce more inclusiveWord documents)

    • 4. Making the most of PDFs (highlighting the alterations thatcan be made to existing PDFs and the best way to createnew ones for accessibility)

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    Best practice with images and tables• Images are not accessible to a screen reader.

    To ensure they are accessible:• Explain what the image shows within the text• Use alternative text to explain the image

    • Consider the layout of information in a table• Screen readers will read from left to right.• Does this affect how you would arrange a table?

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    Publicity and Registration Arrangements

    • Different publicity formats e.g. print, web etc.• Early details of event location.• Use accessible documentation.• Range of registration options e.g. phone, web,

    SMS.• Ascertain personal support/access

    requirements eg braille, wheelchair user.• Confirm with delegates what support has

    been or will be provided.

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    Additional Support Requirements

    • Identify potential suppliers of material orsupport workers.

    • Reserve seating for delegates and theirsupport workers.

    • Provide copies of presentation in advance toenable an understanding of the topic material.

    • Ensure provision is made for assistance dogsor similar situations.

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    At the Event

    • The venue – signage and refreshments• Registration• The presentations

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    • Large print, sans serif fonts, dark text on alight background.

    • Displayed at a height appropriate forwheelchair users (1.4 -1.7m)

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    Event Registration

    • Ensure registration staff are aware of disabilityequality issues.

    • Brief staff if you are aware of any specificrequirements for attendees.

    • Ensure name badges printed in minimum size 18font.

    • If alternate registration packs are produced ensurethere is a mechanism in place to distribute them toappropriate delegates sensitively.

    • Consider providing accessible taxi service for end ofevent.

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    Meet and Greet

    When interacting with a disabledperson, ensure you ask what isappropriate for their needs asdifferent disabled people will havedifferent requirements.

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    Etiquette and Terminology

    Hearing ImpairedHard of HearingPartially SightedVisually Impaired

    Carers (meaning paid homecarers)

    Personal assistantsWheelchair boundWheelchair userSpecial needs personPerson with additional support needsMentally ill / mental /Person with mental health issuesSuffers fromÅc / a victim ofÅchas (state medical condition)Learning disabilitiesPeople with learning difficultiesDyslexics (or any word ÅeÅcicÅf)Dyslexic personDisabilitiesImpairments (or state actual medical


    Normal / Able bodiedNon-disabled peopleThe disabledDisabled people


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    Refreshment Areas

    • Check area is navigable via wheelchair.• Do not use fixed seating.• Ensure full range of refreshments made

    available to all at a suitable height.• Ensure some seating available if lunch

    served buffet style.• Ensure staff are available to explain menu


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    Food and Drink

    • Make sure food is ‘accessible’ if using buffetstyle.

    • Provide a range of beverage options.• Ensure special dietary options are labelled

    and on separate plates.• Provide a variety of drinking cups including

    straws.• If appropriate, provide personal assistance for

    delegates in self-service environment.

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    Creating Accessible Presentations

    • Light Room: dark text on a light background.• Dark Room: light text on a dark background.• Text Minimum 24, Sans Serif.• White Space, Bullet Point.• Use the notes field.• Describe any diagrams or charts within the

    notes field or using alt text.

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    Appropriate use of PowerPoint

    • Ensure images and animations are not distractingfrom the messages of the text.

    • Ensure all information portrayed on a slide is read out,and any images explained to the audience.

    • It is not necessary to read out every slide verbatim –you will put people to sleep! But ensure the mainmessages are presented by voice as well as onscreen.

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    Delivering Presentations

    Face forward at alltimes whenspeaking.

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    Delivering Presentations

    • Use a microphone or audio system ifavailable.

    • Do not speak over any audio content.• Ensure all videos or animations have finished

    before beginning to speak again.• Ensure any questions or comments from the

    audience are repeated by the presenter.

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    The Accessibility Essentials series

    • 3. Creating Accessible Presentations(how to best use PowerPoint forinclusive purposes)

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    Visit the JISC TechDis website…• The Accessibility Essentials series

    • Accessible Events: A good practice guide for stafforganising events in Higher Education (producedby JISC TechDis and the National Disability Team,2004): see

    • Or contact our Helpdesk:

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    Contact Details

    JISC TechDis ServiceThe Higher Education Academy Building

    Innovation WayYork Science Park

    YorkYO10 5BR