Creating an accessible panel — one that everyone can enjoy — isn’t as daunting as it sounds! With just a few tips and a little consideration, it’s easy to ensure that anyone, regardless of ability, can participate and enjoy.
During Your Panel/Event
- Speak clearly, and avoid speaking too fast.
- Speak directly into the microphone by pointing it at your face. Think corndog, not ice cream cone.
- Always use the microphone when it’s available, even in a small room.
- Make sure to keep your lips visible for people who use speech-reading. Don’t hide them with the microphone, or turn away from the audience while speaking.
- Some attendees may hold up signs which read “use the mic” or “show your lips” if they are having trouble hearing or seeing you. These are provided by Naka-Kon to help improve everyone’s con experience.
Provide a verbal description of all visual information relevant to the panel, including graphics, text, video, or physical gestures.
Example: If you ask the panel’s attendees to “raise your hand if you like anime, are hungry, or haven’t been drinking water,” follow that by saying “about twenty-nine out of thirty people raised their hands that they like anime, are hungry, or haven’t been drinking water.”
If the audience doesn’t have a microphone to use, make sure to repeat their comments or questions before answering.
Example: An attendee dressed as Pikachu raises their hand. You call on them, and they ask “is the water at the back of the room for everyone?”
- You then repeat “So, Pikachu asked if the water at the back of room is for everyone,” before continuing “That’s a little off topic, but yes the water’s for everyone. Please drink water today, folks.”
- Be aware of attendees who are out of your typical line of sight, and make sure to call on them. Please don’t accidentally skip the wheelchair-using Sasuke who’s patiently waiting at the microphone, or overlook the Inuyasha that parked their scooter at the side of the room.
As You Prepare Your Panel/Event
- If you are using a projector for PowerPoint or something similar, there’s a few easy ways to make that more accessible.
- Use a sans-serif font like Arial or Helvetica, at 18pt size or larger, with high contrast colors (i.e. black text on light colored background) to make it easily readable to the majority of the audience.
- Give a short description of each image or slide so attendees will be able to follow along, even if they cannot see the image. A good description draws attention to the most relevant parts of the image.
- Example: “This slide has a picture of Naruto eating ramen very quickly, and lists some of the people who have eaten ramen with him; Iruka, Sasuke, and Sakura. Have you eaten yet today?”
- If possible, include captioning with any video used.
- Consider making a couple printed copies of your presentation available to help attendees follow along.
- Make sure to use a sans-serif font of 18pt or larger size.
- If you are worried about intellectual property, include a note that these materials are not for circulation.
ASL Interpreters and You
This year, Naka-Kon is providing a pilot program of ASL interpreting at some of our panels and events! It’s so exciting! Here are a few quick tips that will make working with an interpreter an easier and more successful experience for everyone involved.
- If an ASL interpreter has been requested for your panel, you will receive a request from Naka-Kon for a copy of your presentation, or a list of unusual or genre-specific words. This will be given to the interpreter to help them prepare, and will not be otherwise circulated.
- When using the assistance of an interpreter to talk to someone, speak directly to the person you are talking to, not the interpreter.
- If an ASL interpreter is working at your panel and you are using projected materials, give a brief pause of silence before adding spoken information, so attendees can look at or read the information before turning to look at the interpreter.
- Don’t walk in front of or otherwise block the attendees’ view of the interpreter.
- Before the panel starts, make sure that the interpreter has a copy of your presentation, or at least a list of keywords, unusual words, and names and places that will be discussed during your panel.
- Let the interpreter know if you’re willing to be interrupted for clarification.