Venue Accessibility Checklist

Considerations when selecting a venue for WordCamp

As an organizer, venue selection can be challenging considering the accessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). ( of convention centers, university or office buildings, and local hotels for all attendees. The following overview can help you assess potential venues for accessibility.

As a side benefit, facilities that are accessible often have more modern amenities, including retrofitted or updated structures, and may better support our technical requirements.

As organizers, make sure to assess each facility (conference, hotel blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience.) in the following areas:

  1. Building entrances
  2. Tracks/rooms for speaker presentations
  3. Restrooms
  4. Dining areas
  5. Registration, Sponsor Halls, Hallway Tracks or event gathering areas, and pathways
  6. Signage and wayfaring
  7. Tour the venue with someone with a disability

Top ↑

Building entrances

All doorways should be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or scooter and have a power-assist feature to allow easy entrance into the building.

Top ↑

Tracks/rooms for speaker presentations (green room, quiet rooms, and organizer meeting rooms)

Offer a ramp to the presentation stage (in addition to standard stairs), to provide access to those using wheelchairs or canes.

Make sure rooms have paths that are large enough to allow turning space for people using mobility aids (wheelchairs, scooters, and walkers). Also, if possible provide tables or areas for easy parking of mobility aids.

Evaluate the room’s acoustics and sound system to ensure that attendees can clearly hear presentations and see the speakers.

Top ↑


Accessible washrooms (with wide entrances, wheelchair stalls, etc.) should be close in proximity to all meeting or dining areas and be able to accommodate a large number of attendees.

Top ↑

Dining areas

Similar to restrooms, dining areas should be near the main rooms of the event and have accessible restrooms nearby.

Top ↑

Registration, Sponsor Halls, Hallway Tracks or event gathering areas, and pathways  

Look for wide, barrier-free travel routes to and from all conference meeting areas. Provide barrier-free routes of travel to and from all conference meeting areas. Watch out for things that impede access like sudden changes in level or flooring. 

If your event takes place on several floors, be sure there is enough elevator capacity to accommodate those who can’t use the stairs.

Top ↑

Signage and wayfinding

Provide an accessible large-format floor plan and event signs for attendees.

Ensure that maps and signs are simple, clear, and have sufficient color contrast for key information.

Top ↑

Tour the venue with someone with a disability

If you have the resources, tour potential facilities with someone from the disabled community, who may be able to point out considerations that the larger team may miss. This will offer an invaluable perspective on the venue, and help you create the most accessible event possible.

Finally, reach out to members of the disabled community for feedback during the planning process including them in meetings or to review plans as needed. 

Top ↑

Additional Resources

A Planning Guide for Accessible Conferences, Council of Ontario Universities

Props to Joe Simpson, Jr. for creating this handbook page.

Last updated: