This episode began as a recent conversation on a show floor, when I suddenly realized that there’s just not enough discussion happening in the trade show industry about accessibility issues. Even if you think you’re tuned into what attendees with disabilities need in order to navigate a show floor, you’re probably missing a lot of things that are frustrating them or even keeping them away from the show all together. (I know I was!)
Click the play button at the end of this article to hear Joan Eisenstodt and Lee Jacobia share first-hand experience on aspects that venues, show organizers, and exhibitors need to understand:
- Common aspects of shows and venues that are still not accessible, even though the Americans with Disabilities Act turns 25 this year
- Ways to be more sensitive to those with visible or invisible disabilities (Hint: it begins with advance registration)
- How to educate exhibit booth staff so that they are more hospitable to attendees with disabilities
- Why thinking like a child can be a good thing
Here are a few additional resources to continue your exploration of this important topic:
- Communicating with Deaf Attendees (previous Trade Show Insights episode)
- Americans with Disabilities Act: What Exhibit & Event Planners Must Know (downloadable PDF from IAEE)
- Checklist of things to look for in site visits (from Access Advocates)
- Checklist for removing common barriers as you plan an event (from Meetings & Conventions magazine)
- 7 Things every Web Designer Needs to Know About Accessibility
- Update 6/15/15: Here’s a page with a gold mine of resources from the group that produces the Abilities Expos (Thanks to Arlene Shows from TSNN for sharing!)
Disclaimer: We are not experts on the specific aspects of the ADA, so this discussion is provided for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be construed as legal advice. We recommend you consult your attorney to determine whether your venues and practices are in compliance with the laws.
About Joan Eisenstodt:
As a life-long learner and a total nerd when it comes to reading and information collecting, Joan Eisenstodt founded DC-based Eisenstodt Associates in 1981 to provide meetings and hospitality consulting, training and facilitation. An informed and engaging trainer and facilitator, she is involved in ASAE, DMAI, HSMAI, IACC, MPI, PCMA, and SGMP.
Joan’s passionate teaching has been honored by many of those same organizations, as well as NSA (and that’s speakers not spies.) Joan was a 2004 inductee into the Convention Industry Council’s Hall of Leaders. She educates in all she does including her activity in social media.
You can connect with Joan via her website at Eisenstodt.com or on Twitter: @joaneisenstodt and @meetingsfocus
About Lee Jacobia:
An experienced exhibit industry professional, Lee Jacobia started his career in the exhibit industry in 1994 and has held various positions at exhibit design firms over the last 15 years, including responsibility for warehouse, account management, client team direction and transportation management. His experience spans multiple industries and clients of all sizes.
Lee holds a Masters of Business Administration with specialization in Management from Indiana Wesleyan University, and was awarded “Patient of the Year” honors in 2008 from Rehabilitation Hospital of Indianapolis. He is currently a Business Development Executive with MG Design. He can be reached at ljacobia (at).