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How to Make Webinars Accessible to Deaf People

In today’s internet age, webinars are a must have. Webinars allow us to reach a large audience  to promote our products and services. They are very important in allowing us to make a living doing what we enjoy. They allow us as entrepreneurs to reach a large audience that is crucial to making sure that we stay booked up.

Doing webinars but don't want to leave out those with hearing disabilities? Here's what you need to know.

There is one segment of the population that has been largely omitted from this new way of reaching people that may be interested in our talents.

Deaf individuals cannot benefit from webinars.

There is a wealth of free information available through webinars and the Deaf community is beginning more and more to make the  jump into freelance waters.

We all know how difficult it can be when you have no barriers against you but for a Deaf person it is even harder.

As a deaf person, I myself, find it extremely frustrating when a blogger that I highly admire, has a webinar that may be beneficial to me, but I cannot understand what is being said in addition to powerpoint slides.  

I remember there was one blogger who was giving a free training on Pinterest and all I could get was what was on the slides. I felt like I was missing so much.

There is such an easy solution to this problem, that may or may not be known to everyone. I have emailed bloggers asking if they know how easy it is to implement a trick that will allow the deaf community to follow their webinar and most have replied back that they did not.

There are programs that that allow a person to call in from a phone, then call through a Video Relay service which allows you to see what the person is saying through an interpreter. The most popular one is GoToWebinar.

There are other options such as UberConference, while not strictly just for webinars, they allow a Deaf person to call through video relay service which an interpreter can then interpret what is being said. I have used this method myself and it works beautifully.

If you use Google Hangouts for your webinars, great!

Captions for Google Hangouts

Using Captions for Google Hangouts is the next best thing to a program such as GotoWebinar that will make your webinar accessible to deaf people. You CAN use an interpreter with Google hangouts but it can get expensive. You have to pay for an interpreter and that can run in the hundreds of dollars.

The less expensive way however, is hangout captions. You can get a professional to do it but you can also get a friend who is really good at typing to do it for you also.

Simply download the Hangout Captions app and open Google Hangouts.

The app will show up here:

Hilary Post pic

That is it! It is really simple and you will allow hundreds of people to take part in you webinar.

There are many Deaf people that want to take part and buy your services. It is frustrating when your favorite blogger has a new webinar out and give free training but if you can’t take part then you get left behind.

That is the reality of many Deaf business owners today. But you can help change this by this simple action and you may even get new clients as a result!

I encourage you to consider the deaf community through all your audio marketing efforts.

Hilary Nicole Roberts I am Hillary Roberts, ghostwriter to the masses. If you need something written quickly and efficiently then feel free to email me! I am also a Deaf Appalachian native, book blogger and fashion aficionado.

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{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Thanks for reminding us of the need to create web content for people with disabilities, Hillary. I had no idea of the difference in VRC ability with different webinar providers.

    • Not a lot of people know about it. It still makes me nuts when I see bloggers who claim to be making millions failing to caption their webinars.

  • Julienne

    FANTASTIC post!

  • Awesome! I have a webinar coming up and I was sad one of my best loyal customer would have trouble attending. Happy to know there are ways to make it accessible!

  • Hi Hillary,
    I am a webinar producer and companies hire me to assist with their webinars. I work with gotowebinar platform on dialy basis and I didn’t realize they had Video Relay Service. Can you tell me bit more about how this works?

    Thank you,


  • Kelly Goscinski

    Could you tell me a bit more about how the video relay service works in conjunction with GoToWebinar and how it is set-up? Thanks!

  • Oh my goodness Hillary, I have just discovered you. I have created visual guided meditations especially to reach the deaf to help with creating harmony, emotional healing and spiritual growth. By spiritual I mean your own higher self as your source of wisdom.

    Anyway, I was wondering how I would create a webinar and you beautiful angel, you have the answers. Divine guidance for sure … or was it Google :-).

    I am so new to this and learning at a rapid rate and keen to soak your wonderful wisdom up. Thank you. Robyn E Gibson – Spiritual Empowerment Coach.

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