The traditional research poster presentation format is fairly inaccessible across a wide range of disabilities.

Firstly, poster board aisles are often too narrow and crowded. This makes them unwelcoming to people who use mobility aids like wheelchairs or canes, and to people who have trouble in crowded and loud spaces such as Blind people, Deaf people, and Autistic people or people with PTSC. Conference organizers need to attend to adequate aisle widths and implement crowd control tactics to prevent overflowing poster areas. See the following guide from ACM SIGACCESS for more information:

Secondly, conversation during poster presentation times can be difficult for people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, have auditory processing issues, affected speech or expressive language, or use AAC to communicate. As a presenter, keeping a notepad on hand to pass notes back and forth with interested attendees can help. Also, remain patient and allow people with communication disabilities equal access to your time. Don’t assume someone is uninterested in talking to you based solely on their equipment or behavior. Any person who seems to linger around your poster deserves to be asked directly if they have questions or would like you explain the poster for them.

While your poster should be informational enough to be of interest even when you aren’t present, don’t expect people to read the poster while you are standing there. Present it! When you are not there, consider leaving a way for people to ask questions, such as post-it notes, a event, or even a twitter tag.

Finally, a QR code can be included on your poster that will take attendees to either an accessible PDF or a plain text document allows them to participate in informational exchange even when you aren’t present to explain your work for yourself. This can be especially helpful for Blind attendees, but you can also include more information for all attendees in this document. In the future, I would like to see conference organizers include an archive of presentations and posters with accessible files so that all participants can have access to this information while they attend sessions and poster events.

Disabled people also publish and present research. SHOCKER. So consider some of these access tips as an attendee as well as a presenter. Thank you.

Download an example Accessible Poster in PowerPoint Format and PDF Format. Note: there is something called “conflicting access needs” in which something that makes the poster accessible for some, does not work for others. You should explore different access guidelines and find a balance that works for you.

Link to plain text from QR Code.

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