Tips for organizing inclusive digital events

The dbt community is filled with dedicated community leaders who create opportunities for connection, learning and professional development within the analytics community.

This guide is a resource to help organizers execute inclusive digital events. We understand that organizers, presenters, speakers, etc. might not be able to apply these tips to every event, but this guide will offer some food for thought.

If and when we return to in-person events, we will update this document to reflect how you can create an inclusive in-person event too.

Additionally, this list can grow. If you would like to contribute a tip, please email fatima@fishtownanalytics.com.

General logistics

  • Try to choose a date that does not overlap with holidays or general major events. Don’t forget to check international holidays (if applicable)
  • Avoid really large national/local events (i.e. World Cup)

Marketing

  • If you are using photos, share images that include community members from underrepresented groups
  • Put event accessibility information on your event page (i.e. “closed captioning available for all video resources”)
  • In the registration process provide an opportunity for attendees to:
    • share pronouns
    • ask questions in advance
    • request specific needs or other accommodations (interpreting services, braille transcription, dietary restrictions, etc.)
  • If this is a paid event (e.g. a conference), create a scholarship for attendees that might need financial support
  • Think about how you are promoting your event — are you reaching underrepresented communities, marginalized populations and people who might not have access to the internet?

Programming

  • Book diverse speakers. Include speakers that represent underrepresented and marginalized populations.
  • Do research on your speakers. Is there any reason that your speakers would make the audience uncomfortable?
  • Design an accessible presentation
  • If possible, share a recording after the event for community members who are not able to make it and add closed captioning.
  • Ask speakers to introduce themselves before starting their presentation, so that transcription services can capture who is talking.

Platform

  • Take a minute or two to explain the features of the platform that attendees will be using in the beginning of the event
  • Offer the option for attendees to dial-in by phone and participate without a computer or internet
  • Explore the accessibility features your platform offers and apply it where necessary (i.e. closed captioning, automatic transcripts, screen reader support, etc.)
  • Check if your platform is compatible with assistive technology

Attendee communication

  • Make sure that attendees have any links, codes, numbers to accessing the event beforehand
  • Share the agenda of the event beforehand so that attendees are able to make arrangements (if necessary)
  • Share contact information with attendees so that they are able to reach out with questions before and after the event.
  • Ask attendees for feedback in a post-event survey so that you are able to improve future experiences.

Speaker communication

  • Ask speakers how to pronounce their names before the event
  • Ask speakers for their pronouns before the event
  • Suggest that speakers use headphones to ensure clear audio
  • Ask speakers to use plain language and avoid jargon, slang, idioms, etc.