Accessibility

The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences is committed to creating a more accessible, equitable, inclusive, and decolonized Congress experience for all attendees. 

We strive to embed accessibility into each aspect of Congress 2022 planning, and we are working to ensure Congress is inclusive to all members of our humanities and social sciences community, including those with disabilities. 

Advancing accessibility at Congress will require the contribution of all attendees – whether you’re organizing an association conference, presenting your research, or attending an event.  

We are in the process of consulting with our community partners, in keeping with the recommendations of the “Igniting Change” report, to advance accessibility at Congress 2022. If you’d like to be a part of this consultation process, contact us at contact@federationhss.ca.

Making Congress accessible

The Federation is committed to creating an accessible, equitable and inclusive conferencing environment.  Our virtual event platform for Congress 2022 will include the following accessibility features:  

  • Responsive platform design 
  • At least an AA rating for contrast at small, normal reading size, large graphical content, and user interface components  
  • Consistent placement of information 
  • Navigation bar with consistent sizing for alternative languages and user readability 
  • Avoidance of bright text on dark backgrounds on the interface and in body copy 
  • Allocation of adequate whitespace around content 
  • Adequate length of body copy line and placement of text 
  • User controlled configuration settings for attendees with hearing, vision, motor and other types of impairments  
  • ALT text and aria tags on all buttons and pictures  
  • An environment that permits event organizers and presenters the ability to pre-load presentation materials 
  • A commitment to record all events (with permissions) and repost for subsequent viewing 
  • Accessibility guidelines for presenters and organizers 
  • Live Closed Captioning in English and French (select sessions) 
  • Simultaneous Interpretation in English and French (select sessions) 
  • American Sign Language and Langue des signes québécoise (select sessions)  
  • Graduated pricing for some accessibility features for associations 
  • Bilingual platform 

If you would like to make suggestions for further improvements, please email the Congress team at congress@federationhss.ca. 

Accessibility provisions by request 

The Federation and your association are committed to achieving barrier-free accessibility for persons with disabilities. Attendees who would like to request additional services that are not currently being offered should complete the Accessibility Needs and Information Questionnaire section of the online registration form prior to April 15, 2022. Completion of the questionnaire will assist the Federation and your association in pre-arranging requests from attendees with accessibility needs. If you missed submitting the form during registration, contact congress@federationhss.ca.  

 

The following list reflects some of the options that can be requested during the registration process: 

  •  Real-time captioning 
  •  Alternative formats of written material 
  •  Simultaneous interpretation 
  •  Sign Language interpretation 

 

Please note: These provisions may require arrangements that are not provided by the Federation or your association on a regular basis, and may incur additional charges for you or your association. Last minute requests for some services may not be possible; however, the Federation and your association will do their best to accommodate. 

 

CC button
Live Closed Captioning: Where you see these icons, Zoom closed captioning is provided for the duration of the session. To turn on English closed captioning, please navigate to the bottom of your screen and click on the “CC” button. For French closed captioning, please click on the link provided in the Zoom chat box.  

 

SI button
Simultaneous Interpretation: Where you see these icons, Simultaneous Interpretation is provided for the duration of this session. To turn on simultaneous interpretation, please go to the bottom of your Zoom screen where it says “Interpretation” and you can toggle between the language of presentation and the language interpretation. 

 

 ASL buttonLSQ button
ASL/LSQ: ASL (LSQ) interpretation is provided for the duration of this session. The interpreter(s) will appear on your main Zoom screen and will require no action on your part to activate. 

 

Open Captions: Where you see these icons, the media file contains captions that are permanently visible, or burnt into the file. The viewer is not required to turn on captions. 

Audio Description: Where you see these icons, the media file contains a video description used to provide information surrounding key visual elements in the media work. The viewer is not required to turn on captions. 
 

Support person registration

Support persons will be provided with complimentary access to Congress sessions only when accompanied by the individual they are supporting. Kindly let us know when completing your accessibility request in the Congress registration form (opens January 2022) if you intend to have a support person assist you during your virtual Congress experience. 

Presentation recommendations 

There are some simple strategies that you can apply to improve the accessibility of your presentation. Accessible presentations help to ensure that all audience members have a positive experience and contribute to the inclusive spirit of Congress 2022. 

 

1. Speak slowly and clearly: This is particularly important if there is an ASL/LSQ interpreter or real time transcriptionist present.  

2. Repeat audience questions: Ensure the entire audience can hear what is being asked. 

3. Pronouns: Observe attendee pronouns if they have been indicated through their Zoom name or the chat feature. If you are unsure of an attendee’s pronouns, use their name instead.  

4. Avoid relying solely on gestures to convey a message: Some examples of this are making quotation marks in the air, nodding your head or using visual reference points.  

5. Read out all slide information: Read out all of the text on your slides and describe images used so that the presentation is accessible to visually impaired participants and to participants who may not have video enable on Zoom.  

6. Image Descriptions: Ensure any images used (photos, graphs, pie charts etc) have descriptive captions.  Presenters should read the descriptive captions and/or interpreters should add the descriptive captions to their script.   

7. Mind Your Language: Keep in mind the terminology you are using throughout your presentation. Avoid phrases such as you guys and replace them with phrases such as you folks, our team or another fitting phrase. Also avoid using ableist or otherwise offensive phrases; here is a link to the most common ableist phrases used by academics: https://diversity.caltech.edu/documents/1901/ableist_terms.pdf 

8. Respect the Code of Conduct: familiarize yourself with the Federation Code of Conduct. In addition to what is listed above, ensure your microphone is clear and your internet connection is strong. Refer to the Speaker Service Centre for additional presenter information.  
 

Presentation material recommendations

Ensure that any of the visual aids used throughout your conference are accessible to all audience members. Use the following as a guide when creating your visual aids.  

 

1. Contrast checker: Some font colours are more difficult to see against different colour backgrounds. Use this link to check to your materials. Materials should pass at a minimum of AA, but the preference is AAA. https://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/ 

2. Accessibility evaluation tools:https://webaim.org/articles/tools/  

3. Image descriptions: Ensure any images used (photos, graphs, pie charts, etc.) all have descriptive captions.   Presenters should read the descriptive captions and/or interpreters should add the descriptive captions to their script.    

4. Font: Use a large font size (minimum 20-point font for headings and 16-point font for regular text) and utilize white space around text. 

5. Media clips: Ensure any outside media you are using includes captioning features. Many mp4 recordings have a closed captioning feature that can be turned on to display a transcription of the audio portion of the video. Any important visual components should also be described aloud.  

6. Minimize the number of slides: If you are the one building a presentation, try to ensure your number of slides are minimal.  

7. Animations: If you are utilizing animations, ensure they have a slow speed so that they can be described fully.  

8. Links: Keep any links you are using short for easy readability and reference.  

9. Mind your language: Keep in mind the terminology you are using throughout your presentation. Avoid phrases such as you guys and replace them with phrases such as you folks, our team or another fitting phrase. Also avoid using ableist or otherwise offensive phrases; here is a link to the most common ableist phrases used by academics: https://diversity.caltech.edu/documents/1901/ableist_terms.pdf 

10. Presentation materials: If you can, please pass along your presentation materials to your association’s conference organizers (in a Word document format) in advance, so that they can be included in the virtual event platform for attendees to download prior to and during your presentation. 

Questions and contacts 

For any questions regarding accessibility or accessibility provisions, please email us at congress@federationhss.ca, or leave us a voicemail at 1-613-238-6112 ext. 320. 

  

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