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Speaker Guidelines

Diversity, equity and inclusion considerations for presentations and webinars



  • Use appropriately accessible colour contrast.
  • Try Colour Contrast Analyser by The Paciello Group.
  • Use font sizes and choices that are accessible for those with slightly impaired vision.
  • Use captioning for pre-recorded video for accessibility of V/O. Closed-captioning will be initiated automatically through our event streaming platform for the rest of your presentation.
  • Consider using described video for pre-recorded video for those with sight loss.
  • Speak at an approximate pace of 150 to 160 words per minute to support processing of information.
  • Check out RGD’s Accessibility Guidelines for best practices in accessible design.

Do not:

  • Use colour as the only way of identifying information.
  • Use colour only as emphasis for text.
  • Underline text in digital documents, unless it’s a hyperlink.
  • Add hyperlinks without meaningful text (e.g. don’t add full URLs and generic text such as “click here”).

Inclusivity and Diversity

  • RGD delivers a more general land acknowledgement at the beginning of our conferences. Consider starting your presentation with a more personal, location-specific land acknowledgement. Do a Google search on your city/location to determine whose land you occupy.
  • Consider naming your privilege or the lens through which you experience the design world: design has been dominated by eurocentric values and approaches historically — brush up on notions of decolonizing design.
  • Consider providing warnings for content that may be triggering for viewers (e.g., projects that are drugs/alcohol-related, trauma-related, violence-related, use flashing lights).
  • Ensure your creative examples come from a diverse range of designers (race, age, gender, sexuality, ability, etc.). Challenge yourself to look past the ‘usual suspects’ from our repertoire of collective design heroes who tend to be from a uniform demographic. Who is innovating now? Whose voices can you amplify and support who get less ‘air time’ as others?
  • Use inclusive language. What this looks like in action:
    • Do not default the gender in an example to “he.” Use “they/them” pronouns when you do not know the gender of a person, or consider using “they” instead of “he/she” to be inclusive of all genders. You may also simply say “people”!
    • When addressing the audience, use inclusive language such as “Hi everyone!”, “Hi folks!” or “Hey y’all!”. Avoid phrases like “Hi guys!” or “Hey guys and gals!”.
    • If you find yourself feeling for formalities, consider using the term “distinguished guests” or “audience members” instead of “ladies and gentlemen.”
  • Consider that your audience comes from diverse backgrounds; consider whether your examples and perspectives prioritize a cishetero patriarchal and/or eurocentric viewpoint.