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Zoom Accessibility Best Practices

To get started using Zoom, consult the Northwestern Remote Teaching technology tools page. The list below is a collection of information and tips on how to make Zoom meetings as accessible as possible for all participants, including participants with disabilities. Most functions in Zoom are user-friendly and are accessible to people who use assistive technology. There are, however, a few exceptions and best practices to note. 

Sound Quality

Sound quality is important for all users and critical for people who are hard of hearing.

Recording

You may wish to record a Zoom session, especially for participants who cannot attend or who don’t have a good internet connection. 

Transcripts and captioning for completed Zoom recordings

Sharing transcripts of completed Zoom sessions is helpful for participants who would like to review the session.

Live captioning

For live captioning (or “real-time captioning”) provided by a person (not an automated service), two steps are required to incorporate live captions into your Zoom session.

  1. The session host will need to enable closed captioning in their Zoom account. To do this:
    • Login to Zoom
    • Click “Settings”
    • Scroll down to “In Meeting (Advanced)”
    • Toggle “Closed Captions” to “On”
  2. Secondly, the captioner will need to be provided the ability to add captions to the Zoom meeting. The session host should allow the captioner to join the meeting as a participant and grant them the ability to provide closed captions.

Students registered with Disability Services can arrange for live captioning through AccessibleNU. All other individuals who need to arrange live captioning should contact the Office of Equity.

Chat

In-meeting chat can be very useful during meetings, including as a participation channel for people who are working in noisy environments. There are just a few things to keep in mind for accessibility:

Screen sharing

Sharing your screen is a good way to display PowerPoints or other media, pull up an editable whiteboard, or walk participants through a process step-by-step. For the benefit of participants who are calling in, who have bad internet connections, or are blind or have low vision, consider the following best practices:

Polling

There are creative ways to use the polling feature for participation during meetings or to survey participants. Hosts should keep these best practices in mind:

Breakout rooms

Breakout rooms can be used for small-group discussion and collaboration. 

ASL Interpretation

ASL interpreters will need to join the call just like any other participant and share their video. For best functionality, interpreters should have the Zoom application downloaded on their device before joining the call.

Participants who wish to view the ASL interpreter should select “Pin Video” in the context menu (“...”), which is available by hovering over the interpreter’s video thumbnail. (Please note: Accessing the Pin Video feature currently requires the use of the mouse to hover. This issue is being reported to the vendor.)

Students registered with Disability Services can arrange for live captioning through AccessibleNU. All other individuals who need to arrange live captioning should contact the Office of Equity.

Adapted from the University of Colorado Boulder Office of Integrity, Safety, and Compliance