What to ask on your registration form (and what not to ask)
Preparing to meet accessibility needs#
Outline any accessibility services you plan to provide on the registration form. Then:
🍎 Ask registrants if they have any additional accessibility needs, and if so, provide instructions on how to make the request.
“Do you need any special accommodations to help make your time at the conference comfortable and productive? (e.g. accessibility considerations). Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include the details of your request.”
Provide any deadlines for requests (it can be difficult to arrange sign-language translation at the last minute, for example).
Supporting Attendance through Grants#
Ask about any grant or scholarship opportunities, e.g. for childcare, scholarships for underrepresented folks
“Would you be interested in a grant to cover childcare or on-site childcare services? (yes/no) Which option would be most beneficial for you?”
🍎 Some people have severe allergies or dietary restrictions that can affect their ability to attend the conference.
Use an open text box to ask about dietary restrictions. (Forcing registrants to choose from a pre-defined list might miss important allergies or restrictions.)
“Do you have any dietary restrictions we should be aware of? (e.g. allergies)”
🍎 If you will have a photographer at your event, include information for attendees explaining that they may be photographed and how to opt out.
(see lanyard/photography explanation under Inclusive Practices)
Code of Conduct#
🍎 Show the text of the Code of Conduct and a required check-box that the registrant has read it and agrees to abide by it.
If you plan to offer t-shirts, consider offering more than one cut/fit of shirt.
Provide shirt sizing information with the registration form where you ask for shirt size. (Provide a wide range of sizes, including plus-size.)
Describe the cut in gender-neutral terms (e.g. “fitted” vs. “straight-cut”) with photo examples, rather than using gender-loaded terms (“men’s,” “women’s,” “unisex”).
Why do you need it?
We recommend you do not ask for information just “out of curiosity” but rather that there are planned actions you will take depending on the results of your demographic question(s).
If you are asking just for the purpose of “counting” or ascertaining the diversity of your conference, we suggest doing this in the form of an anonymous post-survey instead, to protect participant privacy.
If you absolutely must include demographic info in your registration form, make it optional, not required. Forcing people to identify themselves by demographic category is not an inclusive practice and may prompt stereotype threat.
✅ If you do collect demographic info, be thoughtful about the structure of the questions so that they are inclusive and don’t contribute to alienating or “othering” marginalized people.
Not having an answer choice that matches your identity can be a very alienating experience.
✅ Take anonymity and data security seriously. Have a plan for limiting access to this information and keeping it secure.
Suggested format for demographic question:
“Do you self-identify as an underrepresented minority in either the [conference] community or in your professional field?”
“Along which dimension(s) you self-identify as underrepresented? Check all that apply:”
Ethnicity, nationality, skin color, race
Do not wish to provide
Other (please specify)