Getting to grips with technology in the modern age has never been simpler. Even as close as 10 years ago the only real options for everyday people when it came to computing were Windows or Macintosh, and at that point both had a reputation for being un-inviting and complicated. Many of the participants we see struggle with the level of complexity involved in operating computers – especially when they have little to no experience of using digital in their everyday lives .
This is the exact problem Francesca had when she came onto the Positive People project. Francesca had mental health issues as well as learning challenges posed by severe dyslexia and a low level of written English skills. She experienced exceptional difficulty in using computer technology to browse the Internet and use e-mail – both very important when searching and applying for jobs, and training. When she met with our trainer, Jack, to begin her 1:1 training, it became apparent that the equipment Francesca personally owned did not carry the accessibility features that would be useful in supporting her during and after the sessions with the Cosmic team.
After discussing the situation with Francesca’s Change Coach, Jack was able to acquire an iPad for Francesca. The iPad supports alternative input methods that includes speech, allowing the user to bypass the need for a keyboard and mouse entirely. Dictation is fast becoming one of the easiest and most useful ways to communicate with your digital devices today, as they start to understand sentence structure and commands with greater accuracy.
“It is great to see how the implementation of accessibility features on devices is allowing individuals with a range of disabilities to access the online world. For example, most handheld devices have a built in microphone now that can be used for dictating text catering for individuals that have limited mobility of their arms or hands to those that struggle to spell with dyslexia,” said Jack when asked about alternative user experiences.
Francesca is moving closer to employment, with the iPad able to read job alerts out to her, and Francesca able to dictate e-mails back to the iPad. Thanks to the continually diverse development in technology, and our expert trainers, another person has been digitally included.