In a few short days I’m headed for Los Angeles and my first-ever BlogWorld and New Media Expo conference. I’m beyond excited…so much to see and do, so many people to meet, and reconnect with again.
But is BlogWorld ready for this legally blind attendee? Or seniors or anyone with physical challenges? Large conferences can be daunting for people with sight, hearing or motor impairments, so I’ll be sharing my experiences and offering my perspective over the course of the three-day event. I hope my observation are helpful to all conference organizers out there.
Here are some of the things I’ll be paying close attention to, based on what’s important to me.
Signage – Are all signs large enough to be seen? Are there enough of them? Can the content of these signs be read easily? Are meeting rooms easy to find and identify?
Stairs and Glass Doors – Are stairs and glass doors clearly marked? I’ve tumbled down more than a few stairs and run into several glass doors in my time:-(
Lighting – Is there adequate light in all meeting rooms and corridors?
Audio – Are the sound systems adequate, with no muddiness or distortion?
Power Outlets – (One of my pet peeves) Are outlets easily identified? Are there enough of them? Are some outlets at mid-wall height and not all at floor level? And are power cords out of the way and not trip hazards?
Elevators and Ramps – Are all meeting rooms accessible via ramps and elevators?
Assistance – Are conference staff and volunteers trained and prepared to help disabled people if required?
Many of you may read this and this that my wish list is unnecessary – of course this is a no-brainer. And in a perfect world, I wouldn’t even have to mention anything. But it’s not a perfect world, and we still encounter more obstacles than you may imagine. So I may vent a bit. But I’ll also applaud, loudly, whenever I can.
If you face some challenges and are planning to attend BlogWorld, or if you have an experience or suggestion to share, please comment below, or contact me. I’d love to hear from you!