Online Conference Platforms Accessibility
Tips for Auditing Online Conference Platforms
- Test not only the demo site, but also any widgets that will be embedded in a website.
- Widgets are a big area where accessibility is overlooked.
- Ask to have access to a live site with an active widget, or an embedded schedule, so you can test them for accessibility.
- Have the previous year's information available during your testing phase to use as sample data. It'll give you a better view of how the software would support the type of conference you're hosting.
Online Conference Platforms
This is a list of online conference platforms and their pages on accessibility (if it exists), as well as any conferences that have used it. Some platforms we have been able to test in the past, but most of the information we have is a year old. We don't endorse any single platform, as each conference has different needs.
Big name conference platforms
These are platforms that have been used by other organizations that members of Digital Accessibility Working Group have attended.
Whova is a major award-winning online/hybrid event platform that unfortunately reportedly has several accessibility barriers, including missing headers and landmarks, no unique titles for each page, no alt text, and no ARIA live regions. As of May 2022, there is still no information on their website about accessibility.
Conferences who have used Whova:
- 2020 Accessing Higher Ground - Terrill Thompson developed a script for Firefox and Chrome that fixed several accessibility issues in order to use Whova for this conference.
- September 2020, Mid-Atlantic ADA
- March 2021, Code4Lib Conference - Utilized Thompson's plug-in to host conference. Reported that there were still missing headers and landmarks. Users were discouraged from using the mobile app, as it is a bad experience, though there were some reports that the mobile app was more accessible.
Midspace (formerly Clowdr)
- Midspace Website
- Midspace's Commitment to Accessibility
- As of April 2, 2021: "We are close to WCAG 2.1 AA compliance, and are working on AAA compliance."
Midspace (formerly Clowder) is an open-source online conference and event platform. You can choose to host a local instance of Midspace, or pay for Midspace to host your conference (pricing is based off the number of registrants). The platform is fully keyboard navigable and screen reader accessible. There were some reports of minor contrast issues through automated checkers, but there is nothing that's reliant on the use of color to convey meaning. More help documentation and updated testing information is available at their github repository. There are some navigation issues that might affect user experience.
Conferences who have used Midspace:
- DLF Forum 2021 -
- 2020 & 2021, ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing - "How we got to Clowder (now Midspace)."
Other conference platforms
Please use this Google Doc to leave a comment about your experience with a platform, or suggest another one for the list. The more information (beyond just the name of a platform) that you can give will help to make sure we get it on this wiki page. This Google Doc contains unfiltered notes about various platforms, many of which may be outdated, that you may find helpful in your own testing.