Making events that are not only accessible to people with disabilities, but unforgettable experiences, too
As an event planner, maximizing the appeal and draw of your event is one of your top priorities. If you’re like most, not a single stone goes unturned in the search of ways to increase the relevance of your association to the greatest audience possible.
Yet, there’s one audience segment you may have overlooked who’d otherwise be willing and eager participants given just the right outreach: people with disabilities.
According to the US Census Bureau, 1 in 5 Americans (12.5% of the population) have a disability. In fact, as a group, people with disabilities make up the world’s largest minority group.
And while it’s true Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act mandates providing accessibility to persons with disabilities, accessibility alone is often not enough to attract them to your events.
Instead, a concerted effort to include people with disabilities in your planning that goes well beyond the letter of the law and openly caters to their specific needs—making it clear they not only have a seat at the table but an important role to play can make all the difference.
Besides, removing obstacles to people with disabilities often has the added benefit of increasing the accessibility of your content to all attendees. After all, the same barriers that impede accessibility to a wheelchair also make it hard for others to navigate a show floor with armfuls of swag, notepads, and coffee. And the same unobstructed sightlines and crisp visuals that enhance the experience of someone with a visual impairment are just as likely to be appreciated by everyone else.
It’s a simple rule: the more you can design events that mirror the makeup of society as whole, chances are the more successful and appealing your events are likely to be.