Choosing an Accessible Venue

There are a number of interior and exterior features to a building which will influence the degree to which it is accessible:

  • - Are there ramps and elevator access?
  • - Do any stairs have handrails?
  • - Are doors easy to open?
  • - Is it a wheelchair accessible space with wheelchair accessible bathrooms?

For a great checklist of interior and exterior building features to look out for, see pages 3-5 of the Planning Accessible Meetings and Events Toolkit from the American Bar Association.

Communicating Venue Accessibility

Explicit information about building accessibility should be made available to attendees before they arrive to the conference. While we have not done this in past conference years, in the future, we will provide detailed information on both the webpage and pre-conference communications about the accessibility of the venue (e.g. is it wheelchair accessible? Are there accessible bathrooms/toilets in the venue building? If there are stairs, how many are there?)

Venue Sound System

Make sure that your conference venue is equipped with a microphone sound system so that all participants can hear what the speakers are saying. If possible, choose a venue that can accommodate wireless microphones for use during audience Q&A.

Gender Neutral Bathrooms

Make sure that gender neutral bathrooms are easily accessible in the building(s) where the conference is being held. Gender neutral bathrooms are bathrooms that anyone can use, regardless of gender identity. Unlike male/female bathrooms, which exclude transgender people and those who identify outside the gender binary, gender neutral bathrooms are inclusive of all gender identities.

Prayer Room

Some faiths require prayer at different points of the day. To accommodate this, it’s important to make a quiet room available for those who need to pray. We tell participants in advance that this room will be available in conference communications.

Quiet Room

Ensure that a room is also made available where anyone who needs a quiet space away from the main conference can retreat.

Maternity Room

Some conference attendees may be nursing mothers. Participants should be told in advance that a room will be made available where mothers could nurse or pump in private, if desired. Also be sure to specify whether a power outlet is available.

Next Section:

Ensuring Conference Media and Content is Accessible