Evaluation of an employers guide for inclusion of people with complex communication needs in an ergonomically designed regular workplace

Project No. FF-FR 0208


completed 12/2014


The project´s aim was to develop an employer´s guide for the inclusion of people with complex communication needs (CCN) in an ergonomically designed regular workplace. This guide is also valuable for other stakeholders like accident insurers and rehabilitation centres and includes operational requirements to prevent excessive psychological strains for people with complex communication needs (CCN) as well as their organizational environment. This can be seen as an important contribution to include CCN to the working environment. Also the occupational rehabilitation of people with vocal chord diseases will benefit, because every group of restricted articulation people undergoes problems in case of occupational (re-)integration.


  • Design of a webpage
  • Adaption of established methods to the special context
  • Usage of the T-O-P-Setting for Occupational Safety (Technology - Organization - Person)


The guide is based on the ‘T-O-P’-approach of the occupational safety and health (technique, organisation and person). In order to obtain more findings than in the literature in the first one (t), the researchers have done usability testings drawn upon Usability Engineering of voice output communication aids (VOCA). The latter ones (o/ p) were compassed by doing interviews with experts in augmentative and alternative communication and information centres of employment people with disability. Findings highlight behavioural strategies.

The guide gives the above mentioned stakeholders advices and suggestions how to (re-)employ people with CCN. For example, this can be done:

  • by having a volume control which neither affects the process of typing nor the speech synthesis;
  • by informing the team which has to be done before the person´s with CCN commencement of duties by the employer or group leader;
  • by being prepared of VOCA´s breakdowns (e.g. carrying a communication board). This involves the person with CCN her-/himself.

It also gives some hints regarding new technologies and the Language/Action Perspective (Winograd, T. (1987-88). A Language/Action Perspective on the Design Cooperative Work. Human-Computer Interaction 3:1 (3-30)).

With this guide the German Social Accident Insurance has a tool at hand to communicate with the employer possibilities of (re)employment of this special group of persons. The guide is one additional element of their own action programme in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Last Update:

14 Jul 2015


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:



participation, integration of disabled (or handicapped) persons/allergic persons at the workplace, special groups of persons

Description, key words:

Employers Guide, People with complex communiation needs