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TechWeek2021: Access Needs – Day Five: Speech, Language, and Culture

Event Details

Date: 28 May 2021
Time: 2:00PM to 3:00PM


Hosted by Access Advisors




While most of us learn to speak as young children, for some speech is not so natural. Speech can be restricted due to paralysis, injury such as after a stroke, other neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy and damage to vocal chords due to injury or temporary injury such as laryngitis. Many people with no speech or speech impairments rely on communication devices to make themselves understood.

On the flip side of speech access needs, there is a surge in the use of speech input technology. This technology helps people who have dyslexia, reduce physical dexterity and people who want to interact with technology on the move. But it often struggles to understand people with thick accents and needs to be trained to understand even people with perfect diction. Interface design that accommodates speech input needs to carefully consider the interactive elements of websites and apps.

New Zealand is a multi-cultural country with more than 150 different languages spoken at primary schools in Auckland. The cultural needs are often as diverse as the language barriers. If we consider that Mandarin is primarily written in a pictorial way, and Māori and other Pacific languages are primarily oral rather than written, it is no wonder there are many access issues.

The impact for language and cultural access needs is that web and app content is often filled with jargon, abbreviations, colloquial terms which makes it difficult to understand. The use of unfamiliar navigation and interaction can also place barriers for people with English as a second language. To facilitate access it is important to ensure that content and navigation are simple, consistent and clear.

Learning outcomes

In this session you will learn about:

    •   Having speech, language and cultural access need
    •   The impact of speech, language and cultural access needs on technology use
    •   Assistive technology for accessing the Internet and apps
    •   Some design and development considerations for speech, language and cultural needs

With gratitude

Access Advisors would like to thank the Access Alliance and Accessibility Tick for their support in putting these webinars together.

Sign up now and look for our other webinars this week focusing on all different kinds of access needs for a more complete idea of how to create an inclusive digital experience!


28 May 2021
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


Online Event


Chandra Harrison
Talking Speech, Language and Culture. Line drawing of woman surrounded by letters from different languages