Synchronous sessions

Digital accessibility is often relevant in synchronous online or face to face sessions, including lectures, meetings and interviews.

Check your content for accessibility issues

  • Ensure the text, images, video, audio and animations you include in the session are accessible.
  • Ensure the activities you have planned for your audience are accessible and any media they contain is accessible.
  • Ensure the tools can be used with keyboard only, in a logical order. Keys often used are: Tab, arrows, spacebar.
  • Avoid long activities that don't allow for any breaks. Ensure you include breaks in longer sessions.
  • Keep timings realistic and generous, so people that need more time to focus, understand what is needed or use assistive technology can participate effectively.

Provide content early

  • Provide materials early, as this allows your audience to prepare, refresh their memory or look up things they don't know in advance. It also helps reduce the cognitive load during synchronous online or face to face sessions, when people are simultaneously trying to understand, take notes and remember what has been said.
  • People that need to do forward planning in order to attend or that cannot attend unexpectedly can have an idea what a session or activity will be about.
  • Consider letting your audience know in advance if you are going to ask for their input in a synchronous session, to allow them a few minutes to think about their contribution. This can also encourage more active participation.

Give options

  • Consider providing more than one option for activities that are more likely to put your audience on the spot, such as pre-recorded presentations, rather than live ones.
  • Provide an asynchronous version of synchronous activities, so those that could not attend or actively participate can still engage with the materials.
  • In online sessions, let your audience choose whether they have their camera on /off.

Be Clear, Concise, Consistent

Ensure the following are clear:

  • Instructions, expectations, next steps.
  • What is required and what is optional.
  • What will happen once a form or assignment is submitted.

Ask, don't assume

  • Read out key points in your slides, or formulas as you write them. Don't assume that they can see what you see (or hear, understand, do what you do).
  • Don't assume they are distracted if they are doing something you didn't expect during learning. They may be handling their learning in the way that suits them.
  • Ensure you include breaks in longer sessions and encourage your audience to take breaks between activities. Let them know in advance when and how long the break will be.
  • Ask your audience if they need something.
  • Ask for their feedback on your resources to understand how you can improve them.
  • Give your audience the opportunity to ask questions or give feedback asynchronously and/ or anonymously. This will enable them to do so, even if they felt shy during a live session or are afraid to ask a question they think may be obvious.

Contact us if you need further advice on digital accessibility.