Remote meetings and events can pose particular challenges for people with disabilities. Elsewhere in this Accessibility Guide we've covered topics such as how to make different materials accessible, what accommodations are and how to present. This page will address some of the unique issues raised with remote meetings.
*For the purposes of this, remote meeting and trainings are interchangeable. While with training, there may not be two-way communication, the issues are largely the same.
Remote meetings are often done with either telephone and/or video conferencing. Because of this, may sighted users are potentially in the same situation as users who are blind or visually impaired.
Tips for remote meetings
Provide materials electronically in advance of the meeting.
Participants should identify themselves before speaking as some may be joining using audio only and it's critical for them and ASL interpreters to be able to identify speakers.
Participants should always have their full name on their on-screen name. If possible, it's also helpful to have their affiliation. For example you may elect to put the acronym for the agency, e.g. John Doe, MDOL
Relay Conference Captioning (RCC): RCC is a free service available for Maine residents who are deaf or hard of hearing to actively participate in multi-party teleconference calls or web conferences by reading live captions through a web browser on a computer or mobile device. Relay Conference Captioning (RCC) is available Monday-Friday 8AM-6PM, Saturdays 8AM-2PM.
Sign Language interpreting: Sign language interpreters can be members of video conference meetings. Consider having them put "ASL" before their name so participants can find them easily and pin them to their screen. Again, speakers should speak slowly, one at a time and identify themselves before speaking to ensure that interpreters can inform users who is speaking.
Captioning/CART: Many remote video platforms have the ability to support CART or live captions. Follow recommendations regarding having users request accommodations so that CART can be provided. (See Accessibility Guide Accommodations for more information)
If holding an event where there is a chance that individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing may attend, you should provide CART whether it's requested as an accommodation or not.
- Zoom Managing and Viewing closed captioning
- Using Skype for Business with CART
- MS Teams does not support CART
If the platform you're using doesn't support CART or you are doing a conference call, it can be provided outside the video platform as well, though this isn't ideal. CART can be provided as a separate channel and streamed through the internet. See Accessibility Guide Accommodations page for more information on CART
Automatic captions are not considered acceptable due to their accuracy. See OIT "Guidelines for Accessible Recorded and Streamed Video and Audio Materials (Word)" for more information.