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Webex Host Guide

This guide is intended to help hosts ensure their webinars are accessible to participants with disabilities.

It's essential to know what accommodations your audience may need, and the best way to find out is to ask.

When you invite participants to a webinar, ask if they need reasonable accommodations like:

  • Automatic captioning 
  • Live "CART" captions
  • Sign-language interpreters
  • Documents in accessible format

And if your audience doesn't regularly use Webex, give them a link to instructions in advance:

If a participant requests a sign-language interpreter or live CART, you will need to hire interpreter(s) and/or a CART reporter. Give yourself at least two weeks to find and schedule these resources. For help, see the Illinois Deaf & Hard of Hearing Commission's:

If you are using a sign-language interpreter, your participants will want to position the interpreter's video so they can always see it.

If you have experienced participants, they may know how to do this. (Point your mouse at the video window where you want the interpreter to show, click the "three dots" options button, select "Lock a participant to this location", pick the interpreter's name from the list.)

Otherwise, you will need to use Webex's "Sync the Stage" feature to arrange the video windows for them. (Do the steps above, then click Layout, Sync my stage for everyone, and Sync.)

Practice this before you need to do it in a real webinar!

If you are not using a live CART reporter, you should use automatic captioning, which will probably be turned on by default. (Just don't turn it off.)

Remember, while automatic captioning is good, it may have trouble with names or jargon. So, if you are posting a recorded webinar to the web, you should review and edit the caption ("VTT") file before posting it. (Your web team should be able to help show you how to do this.)

Note: Automatic captioning doesn't work in breakout rooms yet, so you may need a CART reporter if a participant needs captions in a session with breakout rooms.

If you share your screen to show a PowerPoint presentation or a website, assume that some participants won't be able to see it. Be sure to say anything that's important. If there are words on the screen, say (or at least paraphrase) them. If there is a picture or a chart, explain the main point of what it is showing. Try to do this without literally reading the screen or describing every detail. With a little practice, it should sound very natural.

If you are planning to send documents (e.g., a copy of your PowerPoint presentation) to the participants, you need to make sure they are accessible. For details, see:

Webex is accessible, but some of the newer or more advanced features, such as polling, etc., may still be difficult for participants with disabilities. If you're not sure about your participants' skill level, keep it simple and stick to the basics: audio, video, screen sharing & chat.

As with most things, the keys to success with Webex are:

  • Planning, and
  • Practice, Practice, Practice!

Especially if you are hosting a large, high-profile webinar, make sure you are completely comfortable with Webex well before the webinar starts!