There are many platforms which can be used to host online events. Depending on your event some platforms may be more suitable than others. This quick guide outlines some of these and is not intended to be prescriptive. We have included suggestions for things to think about whilst planning your event.
Please check out further resources via the ‘How-to Guides‘ menu link on the right. These are more detailed guides related to creating events on specific online platforms, ensuring accessibility and inclusivity, and ensuring the safety of organisers and attendees online (as well as in the midst of ongoing covid regulations). Please feel free to share this guide with others.
Examples of online platforms you could use
If you or your organisation already have a subscription for Zoom this could be a great platform for panel discussions, workshops, talks, poetry recitals etc. Attendees do not have to have a Zoom account and it is also easy to integrate your event with Eventbrite ticketing to ensure the event is only attended by interested participants. It’s great for sharing content and organising ‘break-out’ rooms should your event require it. You can also moderate the session ensuring it remains a safe space for all.
Similar to the above, this platform also works well for workshops, discussions, talks and recitals. Anyone with a Google Account (which can be set up for free) can create an online meeting with up to 100 participants and meet for up to 60 minutes per meeting. If you have an advanced account, you can invite up to 250 people and live-stream your session. There is also no time limit.
You may already have a website or blog for your event but if you don’t there are many websites which can help you set one up (for free) such as WordPress and Wix. You can play around with themes and domain names to help create a website/blog unique to your event. Try to think about what you want to convey to your intended audience. For example, if you want to use your web space for an art exhibition make sure the images you upload are of high quality and think about the impact it will have on your audience. You can also embed links to other media associated with your event i.e. through YouTube, Twitter and so on.
If you don’t have a YouTube account you can create one via a Google account (free), which will allow you to upload and stream media related to your event. You can also control your privacy settings and share links with other media you are using for your event.
Eventbrite and Ticket Tailor are handy tools for keeping track of ticketing and registration for your event, especially if it is happening in ‘real-time’ i.e. a panel discussion, workshop, etc. You can also use it in conjunction with Zoom, Facebook and Instagram – more details are available on our website (see above). Please note both Eventbrite and Ticket Tailor are not accessible for screen readers and therefore we would advise organisers to also provide an email address for persons affected who want to attend the event.
Ultimately, your event could use a combination of media platforms – it is important you can control the media you share and that you are happy using the platforms you choose.
Making your events accessible
We want events to be as accessible as possible and whilst this may be difficult given the online nature of most of the events this year, there are a number of ways we can address this:
- Think about the timing and date of your event; does it coincide with possible caring responsibilities/work commitments of your potential audience?
- Think about language barriers and consider creating/using translated material and/or a translator. Perhaps your event will be produced in a language other than English. For those wanting to incorporate British Sign Language we have a list of BSL interpreters who would be happy to discuss your requirements – payment can be discussed directly with the interpreter. We want to have a wide range of events which are available to many people so please do think about language requirements and please do not feel your event has to be conducted in English.
- Make sure the language you use, whether oral or written, is inclusive and free-from technical jargon (unless this is integral to the event).
- Where relevant, try to use large, clear fonts. Sans serif fonts such as Arial are ideal.
- Try to use high colour contrasts in your visual resources.
- Try to incorporate closed/live captioning (sometimes known as sub titles) and visual descriptions for videos and live-streams where possible. We have details on how to book a Speech to Text Reporter so please do contact us if you are interested. Please note this would involve an hourly fee.
- Our website includes links to several helpful websites which can help assess the accessibility of your online content. Please find the information at in the ‘How-to Guides‘ on this website (right hand menu) under ‘How To Make Your Event Accessible and Inclusive’.
Being prepared for technical issues
There is always a risk your online event will run into technical issues but to minimise this risk it is worth checking the following before the event:
- That your content (i.e. websites/blogs/zoom links) can be accessed by your audience and that all your links work.
- That your internet connection is stable and that you are confident running/moderating your online event. Make sure your microphone, speakers and video work where necessary. It is always helpful to do a test run!
- Prepare back-up visuals and other material where relevant.
- Make sure your background is clear and there are no unwelcome distractions.
Feel free to be as creative as you want with your event but make sure you are also comfortable hosting using your selected platform. All online events carry an element of risk but by incorporating ticketing and registration, as well as being in control of the media you share, this risk should be minimal. Further details, including up-to-date covid guidelines which may also be relevant for your event, are available on our website. Keep safe!
Produced by York International Women’s Week 2021 co-ordinating group