We take accessibility seriously at #a11yTO and strive to create opportunities to learn, share and have fun (online or in real life) in a space designed to be used and enjoyed by everyone. This means all our attendees, presenters, volunteers, and the organizers, across all of our events.
Here is what we are doing currently to achieve that.
What we’re doing
Meetups, Camps and Conferences
We work with community partners and sponsors to host events in spaces which offer a good level of accessibility. By that we mean:
- Level entrance from outside, with power door operators;
- An elevator if the event is not on the entrance level;
- Multi-stall washrooms with barrier-free stall, or universal washroom;
- A meeting space with a variety of lines of sight, choice of seating, and space to move around;
- Good lighting and low glare, background noise, and echoes;
- Real time captioning (CART) at all events;
- Sign-language (ASL) interpretation for all conference talks and announcements (IRL, Conf, and Gaming);
- Sign-language (ASL) interpretation at Camp keynotes and primary track (meaning, not all tracks by default);
- Public address systems (where the space allows);
- A ramp to the conference stage (when a stage is used);
- A height-adjustable work surface/lectern at conferences;
- Clear, large-print, directional signage;
- Volunteers positioned throughout to provide support.
Sometimes an elevator or washroom may be hard to find, or power door operators aren’t installed on interior routes – we anticipate this and will post a volunteer in these places.
Our social events outside of meetups, camps, and conferences often happen in pubs which meet the entrance, washroom, and elevator descriptions above. They are often loud, and lighting is inconsistent.
If you have a recommendation for a central, barrier-free venue at a reasonable price point, where not everyone has to buy something, and which can handle fluctuating reservations of 30-90 people, please let someone on the organizing committee know.
Our events bring together speakers with various levels of presenting experience but we expect these basics:
- Speak slowly and clearly, using the microphone, while facing the audience;
- Show slides which are clear with text sized appropriately for the size of the room;
- Describe diagrams, memes, charts or anything that is not decorative.
If you are presenting and are speaking too quickly for the sign-language interpreter or captioner, you will be asked to slow down.
If you are asking a question you will be asked to use the microphone. You can also give your question to someone else to ask into the microphone. Where audience microphones are not available, the speaker will be asked to repeat the question for everyone.
We don’t live-stream events or share presenters’ slide decks directly; we cannot ensure that they are accessible.
- If you need a conference schedule in Braille, please let us know in advance;
- We have some large-print schedules and conference packages available at camps and conferences.
- Please be considerate of other attendees and follow scent-free practices;
- Service dogs are very welcome. Please ask a volunteer if you need assistance locating a green space during breaks;
- Conference (IRL, Conf, and Gaming) attendees will be asked if they have dietary restrictions;
- Camp attendees will be offered meals that include gluten-free and vegan options;
- Meetups tend to have pizza, pop, and beer, with water also available. We do our best to provide gluten free and vegan pizzas;
- If you are attending a paid event and need to bring an attendant, let us know at info@a11yTO.com and we can register them at no charge;
- Part of our commitment to accessibility is that we have and enforce a Code of Conduct.
How you can help
- Let us know if you have an accessibility need that hasn’t been addressed above;
- If you have a constructive idea for how to improve accessibility at our events, please email us at info@a11yTO.com or speak to a member of the organizing committee;
- If something isn’t working, or working as necessary to create an accessible experience, please tell a volunteer or organizer as soon as you can;
- Volunteer! We count on volunteers as part of our accessibility plan.