In order to be as accessible as possible, you will need to know a great deal about your venue, and provide a great deal of information to your attendees.
This evaluation is designed to be completed by event staff during a visit to a venue, prior to booking the event.
Instructions: an event staff member should both speak with venue staff and travel to the venue and answer all these questions. If this is not possible, get as much information as you can from venue staff. Copious photographs and/or a video walkthrough may assist in providing the website writer with additional answers.
Items marked [*] should be described on your event website or in your attendee information.
Before your venue visit, ask for:
[*] A detailed map of the venue, if possible, including all rooms, doors, travel corridors entrances, stairs, elevators and restrooms.
The venue’s own accessibility statement or guide.
Arrival and entrance
[*] How far is the venue from the nearest public transport?
[*] How far is the venue entrance from the street? (eg. if on a campus)
[*] Where is the nearest car parking with disabled spaces? What is the distance from this to the venue entrance? [specify distance, not time]
[*] What are the features of the disabled car parking?
- closer to entrance
- ramps to entrance
[*] Where is the nearest car parking? Does it cost money? How much for a 12 hour day on [conference dates]?
[*] Is there bicycle parking in the venue or nearby? Does it allow for bikes to be locked?
[*] What are the directions:
- from the street to the venue entrance(s), including an entrance suitable for wheeled access
- from the street to disabled parking
- from disabled parking to the venue entrance(s), including an entrance suitable for wheeled access
Eg. Enter at the main gate. Continue straight ahead for 200m to building D. Enter the carpark and cross to the elevator banks on the far side. Take the elevator to the 11th floor.
[*] From the street to the entrance, is the ground, flat, smooth/step-free and suitable for wheeled access? What is the surface of the ground (eg concrete, grass, sand, dirt, cobblestones)?
[*] Is it necessary to pass through a security checkpoint? Will we provide a list of attendees to security? What should attendees say to security, eg. “I’m visiting HOST ORGANIZATION for EVENT”.
How many floors are the venue’s rooms spread over?
Are our rooms intermingled with those of other events? (Eg, same floor, or shared corridors, or shared walls.)
[*] Is there step-free access from the entrance to all floors/rooms?
[*] If there are elevators, where are they? Are they adjacent to the main entrance, or is access via another entrance? (eg. round the side/back) Note if the elevator is a freight elevator or similar.
[*] Do the elevators have buttons placed lower down for people in wheelchairs? (including elevator call buttons outside the elevator itself)
[*] Do the elevators require a key or other mechanism to use? If so, who has the key and how do we make sure our attendees have access to it?
[*] If there are stairs, do they have handrails?
[*] Do any doors have automatic opening mechanisms?
[*] If not, are the doors heavy or light? If heavy, can we prop them open?
Visual impairment facilities
[*] Is there braille signage for:
- elevator buttons
- room signs
[*] Is there tactile paving?
[*] Are animals normally allowed in the venue (eg dog-friendly offices)? If so, can the carpets be vacuumed before the event?
[*] Is there a dedicated wheel-accessible restroom or restrooms?
An accessible restroom should have:
- no steps required to access the entrance
- larger sized cubicle including
- at least 1m/3ft space between door swing and toilet (to allow for front transfer)
- at least 1m/3ft space on one side of the toilet itself (to allow for side transfer)
- handrails next to the toilet
- toilet paper dispenser in reach of toilet
- lower height sink, soap dispenser, and hand dryers/towels
Is the disabled restroom single-stall (i.e. one room accessible separately from the men’s/women’s restrooms) or are there disabled stalls in the men’s/women’s restrooms?
Is there an existing gender neutral restroom? If not:
- are there multiple restrooms for at least one of women or men?
- could one of these restrooms be re-signed as gender neutral?
Reference: AdaCamp Toolkit, Gender-neutral restrooms
On site facilities
[*] Are there water coolers or water fountains, and where are they?
[*] Make note of any on-site cafes or stores, cloak rooms, public phones, vending machines, ATMs, computer labs and similar facilities.
Use of the space
How many people does each room seat?
Are the rooms configurable? (i.e. move chairs around)
How many screens and projectors are there in the main/large room?
Is there room for NUMBER people to be seated in the room? Can they all see the projector screen?
[*] Is there an audio system with microphones and speakers?
[*] Does the audio system connect with a hearing induction loop?
Unconference schedules are posted to a wall on a grid of papers. You need a large blank wall (at least 2.5m wide and 1.8m high) on which we will stick a grid of papers with session names and times. It should be centrally located so that people don’t have to travel out of their way between sessions, and it should have space for 15 or so people to stand in front of it looking at the schedule without impeding other people travelling between sessions.
Does the venue allow the use of painters tape (masking tape) on this wall in order to stick up a grid of scheduled items?
A registration area should be near the entrance to the venue, and have room for 2 trestle tables to be set up with about 4 seats behind them, and at least 20 people to gather in front of them waiting for registration. It is ideally centrally located so that people can easily visit reception with questions.
Food service needs
Is there a refrigerated storage area for the catered food?
Is there a refrigerated storage area where attendees can put their own food?
Is there sufficient space for people to eat without moving the plenary furniture, or will it need to be moved at mealtimes? Is it able to be moved or (eg) are there tables fixed to the floor?
Is there space to set tables up with buffet food?
Is there space for a queue to form waiting for the buffet tables (expect around 75% of the attendees to queue at once)? Will the queue block access to any other part of the venue?
Is there space for people to flow along both sides of a table?
Is there a natural separate exit from the area where the food will be served so that people don’t have serve themselves and then push back through the queue in order to sit down and eat?
Are there trash and recycling facilities near the buffet area or can they be set up?
Are there other trash and recycling facilities?
Are there organic waste facilities?
Is there a place where unused food can be stored by the caterers after service rather than thrown out?
[*] Quiet room
Is there a large, quiet, comfortable and reasonably dim room that could be used as the quiet room?
Reference: AdaCamp Toolkit, Quiet room
Is there a small room with desks and chairs that can be used by event staff for meetings?
Is there space in it to store conference materials, eg, boxes of printouts?
Is it lockable or near a lockable cupboard to store staff possessions? (eg laptops)
Is there a printer?
Does the venue permit children and paid carers on the premises?
Is there a large room that can be used for childcare?
Is this area separated enough from the event space that the children can make noise?
Would the children and their carers have to pass through event spaces (or other events’ spaces!) if they left it?
[*] Are there nearby parks, libraries or playgrounds? is the walk < 5 minutes? is it exposed to the weather? Does it require crossing roads?
Reference: AdaCamp Toolkit, Childcare
Is there a small room that can be used for nursing a baby or expressing breastmilk?
Does it have the minimum necessary facilities:
- a lockable door?
- either no windows that allow people to see in, or windows that could be covered during the event?
- a comfy chair or room to put one in there?
- a power outlet
Is it wheel accessible? Could a wheelchair or scooter fit inside it and could the door be closed behind the wheel user?
Which other facilities does it have: small table? microwave? bottle warmer? baby diaper change table? trash? refrigerator? Is there room for you to supply these?
How secure will milk be in any shared refrigerators? How many people have access? Will anyone empty the refrigerator?
Is wifi accessible in the nursing room?
Reference: Geek Feminism wiki, Breastfeeding and infant care support
Access lanes: On the venue map, sketch likely areas that should be taped off for access lanes. Specific questions:
- What colour are the floors in the venue? Would light or dark coloured tape show up better on them?
- Are there any trip hazards (eg power cables) across the access lanes, or likely to be placed there once we set up projectors and laptops?
Reference: AdaCamp Toolkit, Demarcated access lanes
Do any of the smaller rooms have whiteboards?
Do any of the smaller rooms have A/V?
Will the venue liason be present on site during your event?
Will the venue have staff on hand to fix equipment or supply replacement equipment if something fails (eg microphone batteries, projector bulbs)?
Does the venue have janitorial service on the weekends? Is there an additional cost for this? How often will the trash be emptied during the event? Will you have to take steps beyond reasonable tidiness, such as picking up all trash and emptying the trash and recycling?
What are the contact numbers for:
- Building security
- Venue staff
Does the venue have a required or preferred caterer? Do they recommend any caterers?
Does the venue require or recommend that you hold liability insurance? How much? Do they have a recommended insurer?
Does the venue have a recommended hire provider for soft furnishings for the quiet room and the nursing room?
[*] Are there nearby cafes, restaurants and grocery stores?
[*] Are there hotels or hostels within a short distance?
[*] Where is the nearest emergency department?
[*] Where is the nearest urgent care/walk-in medical clinic?
[*] Where is the nearest pharmacy?
[*] Are there any local monuments or places of historical interest within a short distance?
- AdaCamp Toolkit, Childcare
- AdaCamp Toolkit, Demarcated access lanes
- AdaCamp Toolkit, Gender-neutral restrooms
- AdaCamp Toolkit, Initial venue assessment
- AdaCamp Toolkit, Quiet room
- AdaCamp Toolkit, Sample website content
- Australian Human Rights Commission, The good, the bad and the ugly – design and construction for access
- Alex Skud Bayley, Making your events more accessible is not that hard
- Geek Feminism Wiki, Accessibility
- Geek Feminism wiki, Breastfeeding and infant care support
- Liz Henry, Unlocking the Invisible Elevator: Accessibility at Tech Conferences
- Coral Sheldon-Hess, Conference Inclusiveness
- WisCon, Universal Design: Disability Access at WisCon