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Accessibility at Events

Featuring Three Case Studies

In this month’s blog we continue our focus on accessibility and incorporating inclusivity into events. We highlight three organizations and how we worked together successfully to incorporate various accessibility and assistive technologies into their events.


Northwest Access Fund is an organization whose mission is to offer people with disabilities customized loans, financial coaching, and other resources to promote access to assistive technology, independence, financial resilience, and life opportunities. From 2014-2018, they held an awards dinner to showcase five organizations that support those with disabilities in our community as well as raise money for their own mission. 


The awards dinner gathered 200+ individuals and GFS Events assisted in providing various assistive technology for their event. The first was to incorporate CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) into the event. CART is the instant translation of the spoken word into English text using a stenotype machine, notebook computer and Real Time software. The text appears on a computer monitor or other display. This technology is primarily used by people who are hard of hearing or who are learning English as a second language. 


We provided CART services at the awards event and the entire program was translated in real time on the large screens in front of the space. In addition to the CART services, we worked with a local provider who looped the entire venue with a copper telecoil. A hearing loop sends sound directly to the telecoil receiver in a user’s hearing device. The system eliminates most background noise and greatly improves understanding of speech and music. Additionally, the sound received is customized by each user’s unique hearing instrument. To hear clearly, individuals simply switch their hearing devices to the telecoil program and automatically receive clear customized sound. This was something that the provider did as a pro-bono service for the event, and he both installed and then removed the copper coil in the venue after the event was completed. Creating an inclusive space for those who were hearing impaired was not difficult,  and made all the difference in a successful event.


Washington Apple Education Foundation (WAEF) is an organization that awards hundreds of collegiate, vocational, and technical scholarships to deserving students on behalf of tree fruit industry families, employers and supporters. These scholarships are awarded at their luncheon each year. In 2021, WAEF held a hybrid event to increase accessibility to working parents and keep in accordance with post-pandemic restrictions. The hybrid event had about 150 in-person participants and the entire event was broadcast with an additional 50+ participants across the region participating online. For the 2021 luncheon, we provided real time Spanish translation both in the room as well as online. For the in-room translation services, we provided headphones that guests used to listen to the speeches and program. There was a Spanish interpreter that translated in real time through the headphones. We broadcast the event in English (with subtitles) and had a dedicated separate broadcast in Spanish. This was an excellent way to include everyone in the celebration of the scholarships, bringing families together who were seeing a member of their family go to college for the first time.

 

Northwest Justice Project (NJP) is an organization that provides critical civil legal assistance and representation to thousands of low-income people in cases affecting basic human needs such as family safety and security, housing preservation, protection of income, access to health care, education and other basic needs. For their 2023 fundraising event, NJP wanted to emphasize inclusivity for people across the state. This event was held in-person, in Seattle and broadcast via YouTube to over 100+ participants across Washington state. Some of the accessible and inclusive factors we implemented included having ASL interpreters alongside the stage for those in the room as well as for those watching online. We incorporated closed caption services in the room and online. Spanish translation was also offered to those in-person and the virtual audience. Those in-person received a headset where the Spanish interpretation was made in real-time. The virtual audience called a phone number to hear the Spanish translation through their phone.Finally, all of our speakers on stage used verbal cues to describe their visual appearance for those who are visually impaired or blind. NJP is committed to making their events as inclusive as possible and these are some small steps to that end.


Not every organization takes these measures to ensure that their event is accessible to their attendees, however GFS Events understands the necessary resources to utilize to make an event accessible for all who are involved. If you are interested in exploring how to make your event more accessible and inclusive, click on the button below to schedule a consultation call.



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