General Guide to Event Accessibility

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 35.130 of the regulations, requires that all special programs, entertainment events, social events, lectures and similar events offered by the University must be held in architecturally accessible locations, including those events held off campus. These events must also be programmatically accessible to people with disabilities. This can be accomplished through provisions such as interpreters for people who are deaf, assistive listening devices or captioned videos for hearing impaired people, large print, E-text, or braille handouts of programs for visually impaired people.

Use this general guide to assist you in making your events accessible to all attendees. Please ensure that all personnel in your department who plan or sponsor events receive a copy of the guidelines. For a comprehensive guide to event accessibility, visit the U.S. Department of Justice's Accessible Information Exchange: Meeting on a Level Playing Field guide.

Language on Invitations & Promotional Materials

All registration materials and promotional fliers announcing events should state that your event is accessible to people with disabilities (see sample language below). It is suggested that you ask participants to request accommodations or identify their needs well in advance of the event, so that you can plan and recruit service providers to meet their needs. If no request has been made, you may not be required to provide special accommodations (e.g., if no advance request is received for a sign language interpreter, you may not have to provide this service*). You must, however, provide physical access to your event ensuring that individuals with mobility impairments can attend (refer to Meeting on a Level Playing Field) for details on ensuring an accessible event space) and have assistive listening devices available.

*Note: This depends on the type of event and the degree to which the event is open to the campus/public at large. For example, events that are offered to the entire campus must provide sign language interpreters whether or not a request is received.

Sample language for registration/promotional materials is as follows:

"This event is wheelchair accessible. Individuals requiring Sign-Language Interpreters, Real-time captioners, or other accommodations should contact XXXX Department/Office at (408) 924-XXXX or emailgoeshere@sjsu.edu as soon as possible."

Participants with Visual Impairments

For visually impaired participants, all materials should be available in large print, audio, or in Braille by request. Instruct presenters to verbally describe any visual aids they use. Escort service to meeting room or restroom(s) may be necessary. The participant who is visually impaired may need assistance reading menus or obtaining food depending on the site.

Participants who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Sign language interpreters, real time captioning and assistive listening devices should be available upon request. Understand that deaf callers may communicate their registration and questions through the use of the California Relay Service (to use the service, callers with TDD should dial (800) 735-2929; those without TDD should dial 800-735-2922.)

Should an individual request a sign-language interpreter/real-time captioner, refer to the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Program for the departmental request process for Sign-Language Interpreters/Real-Time Captioners. Note: The SJSU DHOH requires a two week advance notice of all requests.

Electronic Document Accessibility

If you are posting promotional materials in the form of electronic documents (e.g., a PDF document) on a website or sending them out via email, make sure they are accessible to persons using assistive technology to read the documents. For guidance on how to make electronic documents accessible, visit the Center for Faculty Development's Resources for Accessibility.

Website Accessibility

If you are creating a website for your event, be sure it is accessible to persons utilizing assistive techonology. If you are simply posting a picture of your promotional flyer/posters onto the website, be sure to provide alternative text for the image. For resources on web accessibility, visit the CSU's Professional Development for Accessible Technology Design & Web Site Creation video tutorials.

Powerpoint Presentations

If your presenter is using a powerpoint presentation, if possible, email an accessible electronic version of the powerpoint to attendees prior to the event. If it is not possible to make presentation materials available prior to the event, notify attendees where they can access an accessible electronic version of the presentation after the event.

Be sure to remind presenters to vocalizing all points made on slides so that individuals with disabilities who cannot read the slides can hear the information from the presenter.

Physical Access

Make sure your event is accessible to wheelchair users. Below are basic questions to help you plan.

  • Accessible aisles and seating:  Are aisles wide enough to fit passage of a wheelchair?  Are chairs left out of various areas within the seating arrangement for people in wheelchairs to sit with the group?

  • Removal of protruding objects:  Are there protruding objects, such as sign boards in pathways or a trash can holding open a door, blocking the clear path of a wheelchair user?

  • Accessible table/counter heights:  Are your tables and service counters at a lowered height for wheelchair user access?