5 Ways To Make Your Webinar Section 508 Compliant

Posted by Sophia Duplin

There are many ways to define success in terms of running a webinar, and many companies are looking at their online event accessibility standards with advanced information and communication technology to ensure their audience can consume their content by limiting accessibility issues. 

 

One of the best ways to define success is the number of attendees or views your webinar draws. If you are looking for a way to get more attendees to your webinar, one thing you can do is make sure that your webinar is 508 compliant. 

 

Being 508 compliant means that everyone, including those with disabilities, will easily access and use the information you are presenting. 

 

Suppose your organization is looking to increase your online presence with webinars. In that case, you need to know accessibility requirements to avoid disrupting your user base or receiving harsh fines and penalties for violating accessibility requirements.

 

This article delves deeper into what 508 compliance is and why it matters to the success and effectiveness of your webinar.

 

Two people look at a laptop learning about webinar accessibility

LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Pexels

 

Why Webinar Accessibility Matters

The point of being 508 compliant is to give everyone equal access to the information that you are sharing in your webinar. This allows your webinar to reach the maximum number of people possible. This is important because your company needs to adhere to web content accessibility guidelines to avoid costly fines and penalties. 

 

If there is a way to reach more people, doing so is obviously an advantage because that means more people may see your webinar. You never want to do anything that would exclude anyone from participating in your webinar, and that is exactly why you should want your webinar to be 508 compliant.

 

With just a little bit of planning and choosing the right platform and assistive technology, it is really quite easy to make sure that your webinar will meet this standard. Let’s look at how you can utilize different types of technology to ensure your company remains in compliance with each webinar you host.

 

What Is 508 Compliance?

508 compliance means that your webinar meets the standards of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was amended by Congress in 1988 to update compliance standards for a wider group of individuals with disabilities. This amendment was specifically added to require that electronic and information technology (EIT) be made available equally to persons with disabilities and the general public. 

 

While updates to these compliance standards strictly relate to federal agencies, you can use similar accessibility requirements in your company to improve your reach and future-proof your webinars. Not being 508 compliant means you are missing out on many people who may want to be part of your audience. In short, you just aren’t reaching as many people as you should.

 

How Can You Make Your Webinars 508 Compliant?

Making your webinar 508 compliant is not all that difficult. You can make your webinar 508 compliant by planning and making sure you take steps so that your webinar works for everyone by implementing simple assistive technology as outlined in WCAG 2.0, like: 

  • Screen Readers

  • Adding Alt Text

  • Options For Color Contrast

  • Closed Captioning

One of the most important things that you can do is work on the clarity and flow of your webinar for all attendees. The easier it is to follow and understand, the more effective your webinar will be for anyone who watches it regardless of their abilities. 

 

Here are five tips that you can use to make sure that your webinar is up to the standard of accessibility that you want it to be. 

 

1. Use Closed Captions

Using closed captions is a great feature because it is wonderfully effective for the hearing impaired. It also helps with clarity for everyone and can even help individuals without disabilities as the text helps listeners consume your information. 

 

The truth is, there are many accents and dialects in this world. For example, there are over thirty dialects of English alone, just in the United States. Closed captions provide clarity no matter the dialect of the speaker or the audience, so this is a no-brainer when it comes to your webinar presentations.

 

Any viewer will be able to read along, and for many people, this is a preferred method for absorbing information. In addition, closed captions will put an emphasis on what is said and help make the message clear and easier to follow. 

 

2. Use Contrasting Colors When Possible

Contrasting colors will make it easier for visually impaired viewers to follow along. It is also important to have an option to adjust color contrast for those who may not be located as close to the screen or who are color blind. 

 

The option to adjust color contrast will help viewers see the images or script and make your multimedia presentations more relevant for a wider audience.

 

3. Use Large Font For Your Readers

Large font is a tool that many people with vision problems are already familiar with. You should employ this tool so that your script is readable for your audience. 

 

One thing you can do is test out your script. Use different fonts and sizes in your text, and make sure headers on your presentations and webpages are distinguishable for your audience as they follow your presentation. Keep testing until you find a clear and easy presentation to read both from a distance and for those who have trouble with their vision. 

 

If your presentation is going to use charts or graphs, make sure that they are large enough and clear so that they will be seen as well. You can make these adjustments in the HTML code of your site or update slides in your presentation depending on the information you present.

 

Addressing these visual issues is a big part of ensuring that your webinar is 508 compliant, and you can improve how people consume your content and make your presentations more impactful. 

 

4. Avoid Fast Animations & Special Effects

Some people with cognitive disabilities or visual impairments are affected negatively by fast animations, flashing lights, and other special effects. This approach is a good rule of thumb for basic web design. Still, it is especially important for online presentations because faster animations can lead your audience to lose track of what you are trying to share.

 

Fast animations can negatively impact certain people, and they can also be distracting and cause confusion instead of helping to drive home your point. Before uploading multimedia to your website or webinar, be sure to think about accessibility requirements before uploading multimedia. Be sure to conduct ongoing accessibility testing to ensure your content is easily accessible for a wide range of audiences.

 

5. Choose A Secure Webinar Platform

It is important that you use a secure webinar platform. The platform should be used in firewalled locations, should not require downloading large files, installing software, or anything else that will take away from a seamless and user-friendly experience. This all affects the accessibility of your webinar. 

 

Creating a webinar compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 will open doors for you because you will be able to offer your webinar and information to more people and a more diverse group of people. Having and creating more opportunities will always be a recipe for success. 

 

A group of people sit behind a laptop attending a webinar

Fox on Pexels

 

Choose A Great Webinar Platform For Your Presentation Today!

Whether your company is required to be Section 508 compliant or not, we can offer you a webinar platform that will allow people with disabilities and hard of hearing the ability to make full use of their participation. 

 

With BeaconLive’s innovative features like AI and manual closed captions and real-time streaming texts, in addition to other expanded transcription options for those who need it more than ever before. In addition, our platform includes a number of assistive technologies to ensure a wide range of participants can share your content, and our technical teams constantly run accessibility testing to ensure your webinars meet accessibility standards. 

 


 

Topics: Accessibility & Social Impact, Webinars & Webcasts, Webinars: Best Practices

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FAQs

What is a webinar?

A webinar is an online event that can be hosted by any company or organization. When broadcasting, individuals will have access through their computers and the internet as they watch it unfold in real-time on TV-quality video without leaving home.

What is the difference between a webinar and a meeting?

Meetings and webinars are both designed for collaboration. For example, in a meeting, participants can screen share their videos to the rest of those in attendance while using audio feedback on how they're doing from speakers around the room with just one click during brainstorming sessions or through presentations given by individual members if preferred.

Does a webinar show your face?

In most cases, you don't have to appear on video chat or use your microphone if the event allows. You can participate in an online webinar simply by using the other media options available.