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Accessibility

INCLUSION AT THE ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Embedding diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion in everything we do is one of the five strategic priorities MCN is committed to over the next 3 years. We’re committed to making the annual conference a welcoming space for all.


Accommodations

MCN is committed to making its meetings accessible to people of all abilities. To request accommodations, email conference@mcn.edu or call (888) 211-1477 (x802).


Restrooms

We respect the right of conference participants to use the restroom that best matches their gender identity. We also offer all-gender restrooms that may be used by any person regardless of gender identity or expression.
 

Speaker Guidelines

Make your MCN talk more impactful and inclusive by following the guidelines below.

Preparing your presentation

  • Choose a tool that supports accessibility. While newer tools like Prezi and Adobe Spark offer exciting new features, they haven’t been built with accessibility in mind. We strongly recommend using Google Slides, PowerPoint, or Keynote — download one of our templates
  • Choose a large, legible font. Large text can help people with low vision and the people in the back of the room. We recommended using a sans serif font at a size of at least 36 points.
  • Make your slides readable. You know those best practices for writing museum texts? Apply them to your talk! Avoid jargon, spell out acronyms, and explain specialist terms.
  • Color is key. Use a color contrast checker to ensure your text and graphics are visible even if someone is colorblind or has low vision. Don’t rely on color alone to indicate meaning—use labels, icons, and other visual cues too. Printing your slides in black and white can help you see if they make sense without color.
  • Limit motion and animations. Avoid animated slide transitions—they can trigger nausea, headaches, and dizziness. GIFs sometimes have a similar effect: if your favorite cat GIF strobes or flashes rapidly, it could trigger headaches or seizures, and might also distract audience members from what you’re really trying to communicate.
  • Make sure videos have captions, and provide transcripts for audio. Captions and transcripts help folks who are deaf or have hearing loss.
  • Keep URLs snappy, and read them out. Use a shortened URL to make a custom, easy-to-remember link for audience members to type into their devices.
  • Make your handouts accessible. If you’re handing out any physical materials, make sure they are accessible. Use at least 18 point font, color contrast, and follow other handout guidelines.

While presenting

  • Introduce yourself, and consider sharing your personal pronouns. Sharing pronouns is encouraged (but not compulsory), as it lets us know how to address one another, and makes everyone feel included. Learn more about why and how to share your pronouns.
  • Start by giving an overview of what you’ll be talking about. Providing an outline of your talk can build interest and set expectations for your talk.
  • Pace yourself. Don’t be afraid to slow down or pause when you’re speaking—this can help your audience better understand your message. Practice your presentation ahead of time and ask for feedback on your pacing.
  • Always use the microphone. And when audience members ask questions, make sure to repeat the question back into the microphone before answering. This is helpful both for people sitting further away and for folks with disabilities. A lot of conference spaces connect their AV systems to an audio induction loop, which transmits to hearing aids and cochlear implants. Additionally, we’ll be recording sessions this year!
  • Describe all images and read out text. You might have someone who is blind or has low vision in the audience, or some people might not have a clear line-of-sight to the screen. Have a poignant quote you want to share? Make sure to read it out loud. Give a brief description of an image, especially if it is key to what you’re communicating. For video, introduce or summarize the visual aspects of a video to provide context for someone with a visual impairment.
  • Language matters. Our words have a powerful effect, and can welcome—or exclude—people in the audience. Consider using people-first language, and understand when it makes sense to use identity-first language. Avoid gendered, homophobic, and transphobic language (such as “men and women of the audience”).

Sharing your presentation

Before tweeting out a link to your slide deck:
  • Add speaker notes to your slide deck. You might want to include speaker notes so that your slides make sense outside of the context of the presentation.
  • Include alternative text for images. Alt text describes images for people who can’t see them. Read up on tips for writing meaningful and useful alt text, and learn how to add alt texts to Google Slides, PowerPoint, or Keynote.
Additional resources
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