Accessible Virtual Meetings

laptop screen with faces on Zoom meeting. Cup of coffee next to laptop
Photo by Chris Montgomery

Recently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, learning and working remotely has become the 'norm' for many of us. Moving forward past the pandemic, virtual meeting technology will become further integrated in our daily lives as students use more online learning opportunities and employees collaborate, meet and conference using virtual meeting platforms.

As always, we must ensure the technology we use and the strategies we employ are accessible and inclusive for all participants. This technology is evolving and changing rapidly. This information is up-to-date as of July 2020.

Practical Strategies

  • Wear headphones and a mic. This allows you to hear and be heard more easily.
  • Mute microphone when not speaking.
  • Turn on your camera when speaking so anyone who is hard of hearing or deaf may be better able to read your lips.
  • Reduce background noise.
  • Be in a well-lite space or use good lighting.
  • Don't sit with outside door or window behind you. This makes it difficult for anyone to see you.
  • Distribute slides and all other materials to attendees in advance. Make sure all materials are accessible.
  • Clearly state the meeting agenda up-front, including which features of the meeting tool will be used.
  • Ask meeting participants to state their name each time they speak.
  • Create pauses during and between activities, so students who are taking notes, students with slow Internet bandwidth, or students using captions or sign language interpreters can catch up.
  • Use chat feature sparingly and share chat content through additional channels. The chat feature can be distracting for some users with attention deficits and persons using screen readers. Options:
    • Read the comments aloud as part of the meeting.
    • Send links from the chat to all participants by email before or after the meeting. 
    • Save the entire chat and send to participants.
  • Describe or verbalize what is on the screen.
  • Alert participants when launching a poll.
  • Use real-time automatic captioning for synchronous meetings or lectures. Be prepared for using ASL interpreters and/or out-sourced real-time captioning when required for an accommodation request.
  • Provide clean captions and transcriptions for non-synchronous meetings or lectures.
  • Plan ahead for technical difficulties.


  Video Accessibility

  Video Captions and Transcripts

Accessibility Features in Virtual Meeting Platforms



Google Meet


Take an online training to increase your knowledge and understanding so you can ensure what you are planning is experienced equally and enjoyed by all.

Accessible Event and Meeting Planning training