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Case Study Accessibility at Nokia


This is Nokia's site in Stuttgart. Nokia equips networks for its large and medium-sized customers worldwide, conducts research at the site, for example, on mobile communications technologies - in addition to 5G, now also on the next generation 6G - develops optical transmission systems and is responsible for international projects to expand fiber optic infrastructure and campus networks.
With the slogan "we create technology that helps the world act together," Nokia sees itself not only as a company with a responsibility to its customers, but also as a company with high ethical standards and a great responsibility for inclusion.
At its Stuttgart site, the company employs almost 600 people, including people with disabilities. As one of the founding companies of the dual study program in Stuttgart in 1972, Nokia continues to offer study places in cooperation with the DHBW (Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University). When it became clear that the site in Stuttgart would be moving to a new building in Feuerbach in 2021, talks were also held with the company renting the building to ensure that the new building would be barrier-free. This meant that the concerns of employees with disabilities could be taken into account from the outset and implemented during construction.

Disability and impairment of employees:

The people with disabilities in the company predominantly have physical or visual impairments. For employees with a physical disability, this leads to restrictions in terms of their ability to move, mobility as well as their grasping space, and for employees with a visual impairment, it leads to restrictions in the perception of visual information, which therefore needs to be offered in a larger size, with greater contrast or acoustically, for example. With regard to the barrier-free design of the building, these aspects therefore played an important role in the implementation.


The building with its facilities and its surroundings were equipped accordingly to compensate for the impairments of employees with disabilities, so that employees can find, access and use the building without barriers. Employees can thus move around outside and inside the building without restrictions and also use all the facilities.
To make this possible, among other things:
- parking spaces,
- paths as well as accesses,
- lifts,
- rooms,
- workplaces and
- assurance as well as orientation
have been taken into account and designed barrier-free.

Parking spaces:

Immediately next to the entrance to the building, covered and additionally enlarged parking spaces have been installed (Fig. 1) so that people in wheelchairs have sufficient space to get in and out of the building or to transfer and load or unload their wheelchairs. The covered parking area also protects them from the weather when getting in and out. The parking spaces are assigned to the people concerned and remain permanently reserved for them.

Routes and access:

Access to the building via the entrance is at ground level and takes place via enlarged, automatically opening doors so that people with mobility impairments can use them without difficulty without barriers (Fig. 2). Identification for access is via industry-standard code cards. The reception area at the entrance is manned during normal operating hours and can be reached via automatically opening doors equipped with motion detectors. The wide doors to the individual floors and departments in the building are each equipped with an electric door opener and closer that can be opened via a pushbutton on the wall located in the grab space for wheelchair users - closing is then automatic. For smaller height differences in the building, which can otherwise be overcome via stairs or intermediate steps, ramps with a satisfactory width, low gradient and handrails were installed for employees with mobility impairments, whereby the handrails are used especially by employees with walking impairments (Fig. 3).


In addition to the ramps in the building, barrier-free passenger elevators are available for reaching the individual floors. The doors of the elevators and the elevator cabs are dimensioned accordingly for use by employees in wheelchairs. In addition, the elevator doors generally have an extended closing interval for employees with mobility impairments. To operate the lift, the buttons have been positioned appropriately low so that they are within the restricted reach of wheelchair users and people with restricted growth. The buttons are also raised and Braille is added so that people with severe visual impairments and blind people can also read or feel the information on the buttons. For these employees, the floor is also indicated acoustically via loudspeakers in the lift.


In general, all rooms have satisfactory movement space for use by employees in wheelchairs. In some rooms, such as the kitchens and toilets on the floors, further adaptations were made to ensure accessibility. In the kitchens, a sink that can be moved underneath has been installed for people in wheelchairs (Fig. 4), and they can also reach or use the microwave without any problems - the use by other employees was also taken into account (Fig. 5). For lunch, employees can visit the Sky Lounge, which is also barrier-free and has tables that can be accessed by wheelchairs.
Toilets for the disabled are located on four of the five floors. There is a manually tilting mirror above the washbasin (Fig. 6) so that even smaller people or people in wheelchairs can see each other. The toilet is equipped with folding handles that enable people in wheelchairs to support themselves and transfer from the wheelchair to the toilet and vice versa. Both the washbasin and the toilet also have red emergency straps that can be pulled in an emergency to call for help.
One of the toilets has a larger floor area and is equipped with a lounger that can be raised electrically and a cabinet on wheels for medical supplies.


The company has an open concept with "desk sharing" in the offices, where employees can choose their own workplace for the respective workday in the building, taking into account availability. Employees have access to a locker in the building where they can store their work equipment (mouse, keyboard, laptop, etc.). At the lockers there are smooth-running trolleys for transporting work utensils to the desk. All workplaces are equipped with ergonomic work chairs and height-adjustable work tables, and the majority have two large screens.
For some of the employees, the workplace has been specially designed to be suitable for disabled people and additionally equipped with assistive products. There is no possibility of "desk sharing" for these workplaces or for the employees - they are therefore fixed workplaces that are located in areas without major exposure to disturbing noise. These workplaces include the computer workstation of an employee with a visual impairment (Fig. 7). To compensate for her visual impairments, her workplace is equipped with:
- a so-called Screen reader with camera as well as an electronic magnifying glass for enlarging the contents on written documents as well as documents in paper format
- a magnification software for the computer for enlarging and high-contrast display of the screen contents
- a large screen for displaying the enlarged screen contents
- an additional work lamp with diffuse light to take into account the increased light requirement and to avoid glare
For meetings and activities, and activities that require more telephoning, special barrier-free cubes (Fig. 8) or rooms are available on the floors near the office area. Rooms are available on the floors near the office area. For example, possible acoustic disturbances caused by a lot of phone calls for other employees in the office area can be avoided.

Assurance and orientation:

Larger glass surfaces in the entrance area and in the building, such as doors or the glazed cubes, are provided with colored adhesive film. The adhesive film enables employees with visual impairments to see glass surfaces that would otherwise be difficult or impossible for them to see. In addition, the adhesive film on the glazed Cubes provides additional visual protection for people working in the Cubes. Larger and high-contrast signage is also used for people with visual impairments, and contrasting strips are used for the leading edge on stairs to make them easier to see.
An emergency plan for people with mobility impairments has been drawn up for emergencies (e.g., fire) in which people have to be evacuated from the building. All employees have been instructed in the procedure and are involved as supporters. The evacuation procedure has also been noted on appropriate note cards for those affected and made available.

Assistive products used:

Further Information

and participation:
The representative body for severely disabled persons, the company's inclusion officer and the technical advisory service of the integration or inclusion office worked closely together on the proposals for barrier-free design. The investing and renting company of the property took the suggestions for barrier-free design into account and had them implemented accordingly during the construction of the building.
The promotion of assistive products for the design suitable for disabled people of the exemplarily presented workplace of the employee with a visual impairment was carried out by the integration or inclusion office within the framework of the accompanying assistance in working life for people with a severe disability or equality.

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Last Update: 31 Jul 2023