LAIC Lab – Language Accessibility and Inclusive Communication
The Lab develops solutions that allow for accessible communication and enables the ZHAW to establish networks with research and private sector partners. Working together with these partners, we offer services for public institutions, organisations and companies.
People with sensory and intellectual impairments experience difficulties in accessing communication offers and services in both their private and professional lives. Individuals with a reading disability or who are not proficient in the local language where they live are also faced with similar obstacles. With linguistic, technical and organisational improvements, these difficulties can be reduced or even eliminated in many areas. Such solutions may include:
The Lab provides solutions that facilitate accessible communication. It establishes networks comprising people and institutions from the world of research as well as private sector players, organisations and public institutions. Together, we apply research findings in a needs-based manner to practice, while also promoting the further development of solutions and offering support during implementation processes.
- A media company is looking to make its digital and print content more accessible and understandable.
- A hospital is aiming to improve its communication with older, sensory-impaired and/or foreign-language patients.
- An event organiser wishes to ensure accessibility throughout the entire event process.
- As part of a district development project, the goal is to reach people with German as a second or foreign language and to give them the opportunity to participate.
- A company would like to better integrate its employees with communication and language difficulties and foster an inclusive work environment.
The Lab offers advisory services and develops guidelines and standards. It also helps with the implementation and application of solutions that allow for accessible communication. The actual services are primarily delivered by the professorships and partners.
Sign language and sign language interpreting
Accessible web solutions
Accessible digital documents
|Participation and inclusion||
Includion of people with little knowledge of the local language
Inclusion of people with sensory and cognitive impairments
Accessible corporate communication
In order to develop innovative solutions and services, the Lab collaborates with different stakeholders from both the private sector and academia. Within the ZHAW, the Lab cooperates closely with the following partners:
Accessible communication is primarily targeted at people with sensory and cognitive impairments and/or a reading disability as well as people with little knowledge of the local language where they live. However, everyone can benefit from accessible communication to some extent.
The Lab’s clients comprise organisations, companies and public institutions whose target groups include people with sensory and cognitive impairments and/or a reading disability. These individuals may be their employees, members, clients, partners or other stakeholders.
- Public institutions: The Lab helps public institutions in communicating with all citizens. This enables public institutions to offer all citizens access to services and involve them in design and decision-making processes (participation).
- Companies: The Lab helps companies to better reach, involve or collaborate with stakeholders who experience communication and language difficulties. These stakeholders include employees, clients and partners of companies as well as people who live and work near the company’s business premises.
- Media producers: The Lab helps media producers in planning and implementing their digital or print content in an accessible manner.
Why the Lab is needed
- Accessible communication allows people to participate in social life in a self-determined manner.
- Due to the ageing population, the number of people with disabilities is expected to increase substantially in the future.
- With the signing of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in April 2014 and the current legislation in place in the form of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), accessible communication is of great importance to Switzerland under the principle of inclusion.
- There are already many solutions for accessible communication. Our task is to increase awareness of these solutions and to further develop and implement them in a needs-based manner.
Accessibility of ZHAW Webpages
Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (IICT)
The goal of this flagship is to develop information and communication technologies (ICT) for persons with disabilities. In particular, the flagship targets five applications: text simplification, sign language translation, sign language assessment, audio description, and spoken subtitles. Each application ...
Digital Health for parents facing language and cultural access barriers to the Swiss health system
Accessible communication between hearing-impaired people and healthcare professionals
The number of people, especially older adults, with disabling hearing loss is steadily increasing. To date, existing knowledge about this health condition and its impact on patients’ everyday life has not been transferred into developing a standardised communication model for inclusive practice in healthcare. ...
We are planning new events on the topic of accessible communication. Detailed information will be provided here in due course.
- Barrierefreiheit dank Digitalisierung? Am 12.5.22 zeigen wir im Nüü (Zürich), wie digitale Technologien für die Inklusion genutzt werden können – öffentlich und kostenlos.
- Third Swiss Conference on Barrier-free Communication in cooperation with the University of Geneva (held online between 29 June and 4 July 2020)
- Second Swiss Conference on Barrier-free Communication in cooperation with the University of Geneva (held in Geneva on 9/10 November 2018)
- First Swiss Conference on Barrier-free Communication in cooperation with the University of Geneva (held in Winterthur on 15/16 September 2017)