Accessible Event Planning Guide

Downloadable Accessible Event Planning Guide

When planning events on or off campus, the following must be considered:

Considerations for People Who Have Physical Disabilities:

Is the facility (building, theatre, stadium, etc.) accessible to a person who uses a wheelchair?

  • Have you publicized that your event will be accessible for people who have mobility impairments?
  • Have you included the international access logo shown below at the bottom right hand corner of your advertisement?
  • Is the facility entered on ground level or ramped?
  • Are outside doors able to be used independently by persons using a wheelchair or having some other mobility impairment?
  • If the main entrance is not accessible, is signage showing alternative access available?


Once inside, are all the floors accessible to wheelchair users, persons with mobility impairments or persons who are blind or have visual impairments?

  • Is there an elevator to all floors?Wheel chair aisle width
  • Are the elevators marked with Braille or raised letters?
  • Is there dispersed wheelchair seating or unobstructed view seating?
  • Have you ensured that paths to the elevator on each floor are clear of obstructions and/or obstacles that would limit access by persons in a wheelchair?
  • Are any aisles in your event wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or other mobility device? (The minimum clear width for single wheelchair passage must be 32 inches at a point for a maximum length of 24 inches and 36 inches continuously.)

Are there men’s and women’s restrooms close to the meeting area?

  • Are entrance doors wide enough for wheelchair users? The proper width is 32 inches.
  • Are sinks, mirrors and paper towel dispensers accessible?
  • Are there wheelchair accessible stalls?
  • Are there signs indicating location of elevators on each floor?

Is disabled parking available?

  • Are spaces marked with the handicapped parking symbol?
  • Are spaces close to the main entrance?

If transportation is being provided, have accommodations been made for wheelchair users?

  • Have you scheduled wheelchair accessible buses or vans?

Are food areas wheelchair accessible?

  • Are buffet areas, bars and seating tables accessible to wheelchair users?

Considerations for People Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing:

Deaf and hard of hearing persons use varied modes of communication.  Please be sure to make the most appropriate accommodation.

Have you arranged for an interpreter to be present at your event?

  • Have you publicized that interpreters will be provided at your event by placing the interpreting logo shown below at the bottom right hand corner of your advertisement?
  • To request a sign language interpreter for your on-campus event (at least 5 days in advance), please contact your assigned planner in the University Events department to discuss availability and associated fees. If the event is over 1-hour, two interpreters will likely be required to team translate.

Is your event visually accessible for deaf and hard of hearing attendees?

  • Have you reserved a section at the front of the audience for deaf and hard of hearing people?
  • If slides or overheads are used, will there be an alternative light source (i.e. spotlight) so that the interpreter will remain visible?
  • Is there an appropriate backdrop? Visually distracting patters and backlighting must be avoided.
  • Have you provided space for the interpreter (s) on the stage next to the speaker, as well as extra seating, if necessary, as near to the presenter as possible?

Are you familiar with the interpreting process?

  • At any event or meeting with multiple participants, it is important to regulate turn-taking behavior so that only one participant is speaking at a time. It is impossible to accurately interpret more than one remark at a time.
  • Be sure to give the deaf participants any printed materials before the start of the presentation. It is not possible to watch the interpreter and read through distributed documents at the same time.

Have you arranged for other assistive equipment that may be required?

If you receive a request for an assistive device not covered above, or that you are unsure about, your assigned event planner can assist in determining what is available within your selected venue and/or work to gain access to the required equipment.


Considerations for Persons who are Blind or have a Visual Impairment:

Is your event accessible for persons with visual impairments?

  • Have you reserved a section at the front of the audience seating for people who are blind or have a visual impairment?
  • If slides or overheads are to be used, will they be made available in alternative format to people who are blind or have a visual impairment?

Have you arranged for handouts, surveys, program, etc. to be put in alternative formats?

  • In most cases, a request for alternative format of printed material, whether for brochures, pamphlets, or event announcements, requires that a text-only electronic version of the publication or announcement be made available. Individuals can then access the information through screen reading software, or by modifying the font size, color, etc. of the printed text.
  • Other Formats you may need to consider include:
    • Braille
    • Large Print
    • Flash Drive

For assistance with the creation of documents in alternative formats, contact your assigned planner to discuss options and associated fees.

  • If materials/forms are to be filled out at the event, are there readers and/or scribes available to assist?

Are you aware the blind people sometimes use a guide dog and that the guide dogs must be allowed into the function?

  • Other service dogs include hearing dogs for the Deaf and hard of hearing, assistance dogs for wheelchair users and other people with mobility impairments, and dogs for those with hidden disabilities.


Considerations for Persons who have a Learning Disability:

Is your event accessible for persons with learning disabilities?

  • If slides or overheads are to be used, will they be made available in alternative formats for people who have a learning disability?

Have you arranged for handouts, surveys, programs, etc., to be put in alternative formats?

  • Flash drive for use with audio player or other device
  • If materials/forms are to be filled out at the event, are readers and/or scribes available?


Access Symbols for Advertisements

International Symbol of Accessibility:

The wheelchair symbol should only be used to indicate access for individuals with limited mobility, including wheelchairs users.  For example, the symbol is used to indicate an accessible entrance, bathroom or telephone that is lowered for a wheelchair user.
Any language accompanying these symbols should focus on the accommodation or service, not on the individual who uses it.  For example, “Ramped Entrance” may accompany the wheelchair symbol.  This is important not only for individuals who use wheelchairs, but also for people with baby carriages, luggage, etc.

symbol for wheelchair

Sign Language Interpreted:

symbol for sign language Symbol to indicate sign language interpretation is available.