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Zoom: Improve the User Experience & Accessibility of Your Virtual Meetings & Class Sessions

Before the Session - Zoom Options & Configuration

Create a Personal Meeting Link

A Custom Personal Link provides a clean and easy to remember Zoom meeting URL for quick calls and conferences. For example, you can create a personal link that is your first initial and last name. This is great for those times where you need to share a meeting URL quickly for an impromptu meeting. 
Note: Instructors - it is strongly recommended that you schedule meetings for classes, and do not use your Personal Meeting ID link.
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Enable the Closed Captions Feature

Enable the Closed Captions feature on your account for any meetings or classes that will require closed captions. Closed captioning services will be identified based on accommodation requests.

In addition, please be familiar with how to assign a participant to type closed captions should a request arise.

Enable “Always Show Meeting Controls”

This option keeps the controls at the bottom of the Zoom window on the screen. This improves the user experience for many participants as they don’t have to worry about the bar appearing and disappearing upon hover (especially if they are new to Zoom and don’t know how to make the bar at the bottom show up after it has disappeared).

In the Zoom desktop application:

  1. Navigate to in your web browser and click Sign in to configure your account.
    • You will be asked for your NetID and password.
  2. Click Settings on the left side of the window. 
  3. Navigate to the In Meeting (Basics) section of the Meeting Settings page.
  4. Enable the Always show meeting control toolbar setting.


Enable “Mute Participants Upon Entry”

This option mutes participants when they join, but allows them to unmute when they need to speak. This can help reduce disruptions at the start of a meeting or class, or as new participants join. 

When scheduling a session, use the Mute participants upon entry checkbox under Meeting Options to enable this feature. 

Communicate Zoom Keyboard Shortcuts

Send out the Zoom Keyboard Shortcuts ahead of time. These instructions are valuable for anyone using keyboard-only navigation or assistive technology. In addition, they could be helpful to anyone who may have had their mouse stop working unexpectedly.

Enable Nonverbal Feedback

Zoom's Nonverbal feedback options allow participants who are muted to raise their hand when they want to ask a question. 

  1. Navigate to in your web browser and click Sign in to configure your account.
    • You will be asked for your NetID and password.
  2. Click Settings on the left side of the window. 
  3. Navigate to the In Meeting (Basics) section of the Meeting Settings page.
  4. Enable the Nonverbal feedback



During the Session - Communication & Participation

Describe images and other visual content

Describing visual content that is displayed will help anyone with a vision or cognitive disability - as well as people who may have needed to call in to the session by phone due to a local internet outage. 

Provide instructions for participants on how to ask questions in your session

There are a couple ways people can ask questions and participate in a Zoom session.

First, participants can use Zoom's non-verbal feedback options, such as (virtually) raising their hand and unmuting when called upon. In addition, they can post a question in the Zoom chat. It is recommended to use both features, but to always audibly repeat questions that are provided through chat.

By repeating the questions, you will help anyone that can’t access the chat during the session (people using assistive technology will have too much screen reader interference if they enable chat), and also ensure that all participants noticed the question (for example, if the chat window was hidden) - and you will improve the captioning quality of any recorded sessions.

Send any resource links you post in Zoom chat via email as well

It’s okay to use the Chat feature to distribute links during a meeting. However, keep in mind that anyone using assistive technology may not be able to copy or activate the links, and the chat window will be hidden by default on some devices.

It’s recommended to send any resource links you’ll be sharing either before or after the session. You can also speak out short URLs when posting them in Zoom chat. If your resource link is long, consider using a URL shortener, such as or TinyURL, to help with communicating the link verbally and so that the link is cleaner for anyone copying it from the chat box.

Confirm the best polling technology for your participants in advance

Please reach out to your IT admin or your participants to identify which polling product is the most accessible to all of them. Currently, the Zoom polling tool has significant barriers for both presenters and participants with disabilities.

Describe what you are annotating if using the Whiteboard feature

Similar to using a white board in the classroom, you should always describe what you are writing on the board for anyone with a disability or anyone who has dialed in to the Zoom session via phone.



Recording Your Zoom Session

There are a few reasons to consider recording your zoom sessions for distribution after a meeting or class.

  1. Occasionally, due to local outages, students or employees may not be able to access a live Zoom session.
  2. Currently, there are several countries or regions where international students may be unable to access live Zoom sessions for regulatory reasons.
  3. In addition, other unexpected distractions may come up that cause your meeting or class participant to miss portions of your Zoom session.