Eight steps to a more inclusive event

Making events more accessible makes them more consumable and a better experience for all your participants.

Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC
VMware Accessibility
5 min readMar 15, 2022


Multiple devices on a desk all running different types of teleconferencing apps
Photo by Gabriel Benois on Unsplash

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Part one of a two part article. Part two focuses on how to make PowerPoint presentations more accessible.

A significant percentage of attendees at inclusive events rely on captions and sign language interpreters to participate equally in the event. There are many things that event coordinators can do to make the process and outcomes as close to equal as possible for these participants. These accessibility steps are a curb cut, because making the event more inclusive makes it a better experience for all attendees, not just those using assistive technology.

Step 1: Choose the correct type of captioning

I can’t shout it any louder for the people in the back. All events *must* be captioned!

There are three types of captioning:

  1. Automatic captioning. Automatic captioning is free but is the lowest quality. Most of the time, there is no punctuation, speaker identification, or sounds other than speech. Automatic captions handle cross-talk atrociously — caption users will see one line with co-mingled parts of what each speaker is saying.
  2. Respeaking. Despite involving a human, respeaking still heavily relies on automatic captioning. Respeakers listen to the audio and repeat everything they hear. They can add clarity by using an unaccented, correctly paced voice and sometimes add speaker identification, punctuation, and sound effects. However, respeaking can add a significant lag between when the words were initially spoken and when the captions appear.
  3. Live captioners. Live captioning is 100 % human-based. Live captioners type what they hear into court reporting-like systems to keep up with speech rates.



Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC
VMware Accessibility

LinkedIn Top Voice for Social Impact 2022. UX Collective Author of the Year 2020. Disability Inclusion SME. Sr Staff Accessibility Architect @ VMware.

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