If you are hosting an event or conference, it’s a good idea to make it clear to attendees how they can request accommodations from you. Here are several options.
- Ask Registrants to Email You. This is a baseline way to invite your attendees to ensure they can access your event, however this should be used as a last resort. Divorcing the registration process from an accommodations request means that someone has to handle additional email traffic, and often accommodations requests get lost in the shuffle. Use this method only if you can’t make the ones listed below work for you.
- Add a Checkbox List to Your Registration Form. This is an improvement on just providing an email address. Basically, you would ask registrants during the registration process to check boxes for services that they would like to request (e.g., ASL interpreting, CART captioning, etc.). However, checkbox lists are always limiting and might not be able to catch the nuance of how someone best accesses content. For example, one person may like to use ASL and CART in different circumstances, but never needs both at the same time. Checkbox lists have a hard time capturing this information.
- Add an Open Text Field to Your Registration Form. This is the best approach to receiving accommodations requests, and can be used in conjunction with a checkbox list, above. Having an open text field allows registrants to specify how and when they would like certain accommodations, what works best for them, etc. This is a change for engagement with your members during the registration process and for you to follow up by email after to ensure that accommodations are tailored to your attendee.
Types of Accommodations
The American Anthropological Association has a very well-written guide on their website that describes the types of accommodations that are often requested during their Annual Meeting.
At the same time, they leave open the possibility that some accommodations will be new to them and they’re happy to learn how to best match individual needs.
In general, listening to your attendees about how they can best access your event is an approach that won’t let you down.