Make the most of the web this Get Online Week 2023

An older woman smiling sitting by a laptop in an office setting and older man sat next to her also smilingGet Online Week, coming up from 16 - 22 October, is the perfect excuse to make full use of the opportunities available to you and your loved ones via the web.

AbilityNet is a digital ambassador for Get Online Week, as we strive to ensure and promote digital inclusion in all we do.

Free webinars: Dyslexia and Accessibility Attitudes

You can get support from AbilityNet via our guidance about getting online and using tech to benefit both disabled people and older people. Access our Factsheets, My Computer My Way and a range of free webinars to help you with a range of tech queries.

You may also like to join us soon for two free webinars about very popular topics:

Tech Tools for Dyslexia at work, in education and at home

Tuesday 3 October, 1pm BST

How can inclusive tech bridge the gap to help dyslexic people when learning, at home or in the workplace?

In this webinar during Dyslexia Awareness Week, guest speakers from AbilityNet and the British Dyslexia Association will share tried-and-tested tools and solutions to benefit people who are dyslexic. 
 

Register for Dyslexia webinar

 

Attitudes to accessibility are changing - a global perspective

Tuesday 31 October, 1pm - 1.30pm GMT

Guest speakers from IAAP and Open Inclusion will join AbilityNet to share the findings of our third annual global survey into Attitudes to Digital Accessibility (open until 30 September).

The results will share how are organisations and professionals across the globe are investing their time and effort in digital accessibility, and what can we learn that can help us in our own organisations.

Register for survey results webinar 

 

Get online week logo showing illustration of person's finger pointing and pressing on somethingWhy is Get Online Week important?
Nearly 1 in 5 adults lack the most basic digital skills needed for everyday life.
Over 1 in 20 households have no internet access, neither fixed line nor mobile.
2 million households struggle with affordability of internet access.

Can you help others get online?

Do you have some spare time available to help people in your community learn basic computer skills?

You don’t need to be a tech guru to help, as an AbilityNet Tech Volunteer. Typical help requests for a volunteer include:

  • Helping someone set up an email account
  • Showing someone how to use online video calling via WhatsApp or Zoom
  • Setting up a new device and connecting it to the internet
  • Giving advice on anti-virus protection and internet safety
  • Changing basic device settings to make it easier to us

"Volunteering at AbilityNet gives me the opportunity to build upon my experience and skills, which in turn enables people to live a healthy and productive life - it’s a truly rewarding and inspiring environment,” says Greg White, one of our Tech Volunteers based in Manchester.
 

Become a Tech Volunteer

 

New! Susie Dent launches Digital Dictionary to explain digital jargon

AbilityNet has worked with BT Group to highlight sometimes confusing online terminology, as one in six older people report feeling “baffled” by digital language such as 'The Cloud' and 'URL'. Find out more about the digital dictionary.

How AbilityNet can help you

AbilityNet provides a range of free services to help disabled people and older people.

AbilityNet accessibility services

Support AbilityNet

If you're able to help us help others please donate to AbilityNet

Top portable technology for hybrid work

This blog has been updated! Originally published 05/01/2023. Amended 31/08/2023


Hybrid work is now a permanent part of our work lives, and you might be thinking about improving your workspace. Whether you're ready to move on from using the ironing board as your desk, or you're imagining the convenience of carrying just your lightweight laptop instead of hauling around a heavy suitcase filled with power cables and other gadgets.

Below is a list of portable items that are accessible and designed to improve the comfort of working at home, in the office, or in every coffee shop and train carriage between.

Inclusion on this list is based on personal opinion or interest and does not reflect endorsement by AbilityNet; no product or supplier has offered an incentive.

Learn from our experts on how assistive technologies can help you and your workforce become more productive, whether in the office or at home - How to use assistive technology training 

How to improve your audio quality

When it comes to accessibility considerations, good audio is key.

Despite the claims of laptop and webcam manufacturers, built-in microphones are usually bad quality. Speaking on a call with poor audio quality will often result in you being misheard, misunderstood, sometimes confused by background noise, or even completely cut off from the conversation: "Hello? Can you still hear me? Hello? Have I gone on mute?"

There are some in-ear (earbud) headsets of high quality, but over-the-ear headsets are typically the most comfortable, especially for prolonged usage. These are the headphones that sit over your ears on nice comfortable, ear-warming pads and they tend to have microphones on an arm that can be adjusted to be close to the mouth, meaning they're clearer and less likely to pick up the background noise.

Should you use wireless or wired headsets?

A person smiling at their desk whilst wearing a wired headset,You can get wireless (Bluetooth) or wired (USB or 3.5mm jack - with some giving you both options). Wireless allows you to wander the office or house freely, but will need charging, and although the batteries last, you can always be guaranteed to get the "battery low" warning just as the chairperson hands over to you for your polished and well-rehearsed presentation.

Wired headsets, in contrast, are plugged in, so you can't move further than the cable allows, but they won't cut out and don't need charging.

For freedom of movement and shorter, infrequent meetings and calls, wireless are probably best. For reliability for training, webinars, and days of back-to-back meetings wired is better; although you will lose the "sorry, I'll have to go, my battery is dying" excuse.

How much is a good quality headset?

Unfortunately, in terms of price, this is a real example of "you get what you pay for." Brands such as Plantronics (Poly) and Jabra are two typically trustworthy brands, and although there are cheaper models available, you won't get good audio quality and the wireless headsets tend to be unreliable in terms of connection and staying connected (in my experience).

How to look after your headset

Headsets, by definition, are portable; however, if you're prone to sitting on them or if you tend to stuff everything in a bag and hope the zip holds, you might want to consider a hard case.

Another key point to remember is that the foam cushions on the over-the-ear headsets can disintegrate over time, but you can buy replacements for pennies rather than binning the headset!

How to work from home comfortably

One of the key considerations for working comfortably and reducing the risk of aches, strains, longer-term injuries, and discomfort is making sure you have your screen at the right height. It's something our assessors regularly come across during workplace assessments

Access the Ergonomics and Computing factsheet, for an introduction to the many issues you need to consider when setting up a workstation. 

 

Laptop stands

A pair of hands placing a laptop onto a laptop stand. While most monitors can be adjusted either with mounts or piles of books, laptops aren't as easy and people often end up craning their necks down to work.

Laptop stands are a relatively inexpensive solution for raising your laptop screen to the correct height. For portability between the "home office" and the "office." Ergonomic Cafe has some innovative solutions that fold down flat and slip into a laptop case. They also have options that are semi-permanent, attaching to the bottom of the laptop, folding to a couple of millimetres when flat, but giving a good range of height when in stand mode.

Another portable favourite is the Nexstand, a plastic stand that collapses a bit like a mini picnic chair; it gives a good choice of height and can be folded down to about the size of a folded umbrella and literally chucked in a bag for travel.

Sit-Stand Desks

A person standing at their sit-stand desk in an office.Sit-stand desks can be adjusted in height and encourage you to move between sitting and standing rather than remaining seated all day. They are becoming increasingly popular as their benefits to working comfort, employee wellbeing, and the flexibility they provide to inclusive workplaces become more appreciated.

A sit-stand desk is an excellent choice for hotdesking environments because it can be adjusted to accommodate everyone. A purpose-built sit-stand desk is obviously far from portable, but there are some great portable options.

Ergonomic Cafe has the Box Office Pro, which is quite literally a desk in (or out of) a box. The box can be used to carry all your kit, but once you are at your desk, the box is placed on the desk and some bits are clipped on, making it a standing desk.

The Standidesk Active Stand is another desktop standing desk, but this one folds flat rather than providing a carrying case. The folded size is a bit cumbersome—about the size of an A3 notebook—but it's cardboard and so nice and light.
 

Keyboards

A black Number Slide keyboardOf course, raising your laptop to the correct height means that using the keyboard and mouse now becomes impractical, but there are numerous practical solutions.

Compact keyboards (keyboards without the number pad) are not only conveniently portable, but their smaller width means your arms are closer to your centreline reducing the amount of stretching needed to use your mouse and therefore reducing the risk of twists and strains.

For people who still use the number pad heavily, you can buy separate number pads. Some compact keyboards have a removable number pad, and the Number Slide Compact Keyboard, as its name suggests, has a number pad that slides in and out of the compact keyboard as needed.

A Bluetooth compact keyboard with backlit keys that allow you to type in low-light conditions (though we wouldn't recommend it) costs around £15. They are rechargeable and can last for weeks between charges (if you use the lights, they won't last as long). Most can be charged via USB and will work while they are charging.

I've always wondered why there isn't a laptop that has a keyboard that can be used either clipped in as a standard laptop or popped out when the laptop is on a stand. Anyone who can create this, please feel free to use the idea, but I'd like one please!

Computer Mice

A red Capclip mouseMice are now arguably one of the biggest obstacles to portability, simply because of their size. Unfortunately, in many cases, the smaller size means ergonomics have been sacrificed.

The Elecom Capclip Pro has a protective cap that prevents buttons from being accidentally pressed when it is being transported (running down the batteries). However, the case slips off and clips to the end like a cap on a pen, doubling the size of the mouse and making it comfortable for use on the go.

Slightly more ergonomic, but with a hefty price tag, is the Microsoft Arc Mouse. It's a beautiful bit of design; the mouse can be transported flat (in which state it is "off"), and when you want to use it, you bend it into an arc, at which point it can be used as a traditional horizontal mouse.

Taking this idea further is the Air.O, an origami-inspired design that folds from flat into a mouse shape. A word of caution: this is a Kickstarter project, so you pay a "pledge" to back the project and receive the "reward" of the product for your backing, but many projects fail, and few offer refunds when they do.

Finally, we have a mouse that is both portable and ergonomic, the Contour RollerMouse Mobile. There is a bit of a learning curve in terms of rolling and sliding a bar back and forth with your thumbs to move your cursor, and it has a hefty price tag, but the roller design is arguably one of the most comfortable ergonomically.

The right type of mouse and keyboard can be game-changing in terms of working comfort. Discover the different types with the Keyboard and Mouse Alternative factsheet.

Setting your status in the office

A Luxafor busy light attached to a laptop screen, showing a red light.The return to the office has meant that some of us are missing the "set status" option that lets our co-workers know our availability. Unfortunately, in-person interactions don't make this so obvious.

The Luxafor busy light hopes to address this by providing a handy LED status flag, that you can clip to your laptop screen or monitor. It's linked to programmes such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom, and the flag will show your different statuses: Red indicates "do not disturb," green indicates "available," and yellow indicates "away from the desk." Oh, hang on, maybe you don't need that option? Ok, so maybe it's a bit of an over-engineered solution.

Further resources

Is your current way of working inclusive? 

Our expert workplace consultants can help you take stock of your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses, including current hybrid or remote working practices. They help you understand the impact on disabled employees, identify and prioritise improvements, and create a roadmap for your disability inclusion journey. Get started on your journey today by booking a free 15-minute consultation. 

Free Webinar: Tech Tools for Dyslexia at work, in education and at home

Two women looking at computer screen with computer code on itDyslexia is a learning difference that can affect, amongst other things, reading and writing skills, organisation skills, and the processing and remembering of information.

This Dyslexia Awareness Week (2-8 October 2023), guest speakers from the British Dyslexia Association and AbilityNet discussed how inclusive tech can bridge the gap to help dyslexic people when learning, at home, or in the workplace.

The panel of speakers, including AbilityNet experts and Catherine Parfitt of the British Dyslexia Association, discussed tried and tested tools and solutions that can benefit some people with dyslexia. We'll also shared lived experience of dyslexia and the tech that can help with everyday tasks, and evaluated a range of 'Dyslexia Simulators'.

How AbilityNet can help

Graphic of a pile of lined paper Factsheets 

AbilityNet’s Factsheets are free to download and provide advice and information about how computers and other digital technologies can help people with a range of conditions and impairments.

My Computer My Way

My Computer My Way provides step by step instructions on how to adapt your phone, computer or tablet to meet your needs. You can search for a specific need (e.g. making text larger) or filter the guides based on your symptoms (e.g. hand tremor) or condition (e.g. dyslexia). 

Find out more about My Computer My Way


Ensure your workplace is inclusive with our range of training 

In this training series, AbilityNet’s workplace inclusion experts will discuss the importance of embedding inclusivity at every stage of employee journey.

Further resources

10 FAQs about creating accessible digital content

Creating accessible digital content is essential to ensure that your content is inclusive and can be accessed by individuals with disabilities.

Here are 10 frequently asked questions (FAQs) about creating accessible digital content:

Man sitting at desk with a couple of laptops1. What is accessible digital content?

Accessible digital content refers to content that is designed and formatted in a way that allows disabled people to perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with content effectively. This includes content like websites, documents, videos, and images.

2. Why is accessible digital content important?

Accessible content ensures that everyone, including disabled people, can access and benefit from your digital materials. It promotes inclusivity, compliance with legal requirements, and improves user experience for all. Read our free factsheet about creating accessible documents to learn about the basics to remember for creating and editing documents.

3. What are some common disabilities that accessible content addresses?

Accessible content accommodates various disabilities, including visual impairments d/Deafness, limited mobility and cognitive impairments such as dyslexia.

4. How can I make my website accessible?

To make your website accessible, some of the basic things to do include providing alt text for images, using semantic HTML, ensuring keyboard navigation is possible, and offering text alternatives for multimedia content. Work to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Speak to our experts if you're looking for support to ensure your site is accessible.

5. What are the key principles of web accessibility (WCAG)?

The WCAG guidelines are based on four main principles: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust (POUR). These principles help ensure that web content is accessible to a wide range of users.

Interested in digital accessibility? Share your opinion via our Attitudes to Digital Accessibility 2023 survey and help make the world a more accessible place.

Group of people in workplace setting with one person holding up their hand to ask a question6. How can I create accessible documents, such as PDFs?

Creating accessible documents involves using proper headings, alternative text for images, accessible tables, and ensuring a logical reading order. Popular document authoring tools often provide accessibility features. Get expert training about PDF accessibility and accessible documents.

If you're looking to share accessibility knowledge across your organisation, have you thought about eLearning? Get advice about videos, PDFs, images, Word documents, PowerPoint, emails, spreadsheets and more.

7. Are there tools or software to help check for accessibility?

Yes, there are various accessibility evaluation tools and software available. These tools can automatically test web pages, documents, and multimedia for accessibility issues and provide guidance on how to fix them. Find out how to do your own accessibility testing.

8. What is captioning, and why is it important for video content?

Captioning involves adding text descriptions of spoken content in videos. It is commonly used by people with hearing impairments and provides additional benefits for other users too, including improved comprehension, language learning, and searchability. Learn how to create accessible videos.

9. How can I make social media content accessible?

Some ways to make social media content accessible are to use descriptive image alt text, write accessible captions, provide accessible links, and use inclusive language. Familiarise yourself with each platform's accessibility features and avoid using tools or functionality that don't offer an accessible experience.

Watch our free webinar recording of How to do accessible social media:

Stay up to date with the latest social media trends and accessibility via our online and on-demand training course: Accessible Social Media.

10. Is accessibility required by law?

Yes, in many countries, accessibility is mandated by law. For example, in the UK we have the Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations 2018 (PSBAR).

In the United States, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require federal agencies and certain private businesses to provide accessible digital content. Laws and regulations vary by location. Learn more about Digital Accessibility Legislation.

Remember that creating accessible digital content is an ongoing process, and staying informed about best practices and guidelines is essential to ensure your content remains inclusive for all users.

Visit our Accessible Content Resources Hub

 

Group of people in meeting room in formal training sceneGreat value: get 10 courses for the price of 8

Save on the year ahead by purchasing 10 accessibility and inclusion training courses for the price of 8, with our bundle deal. 

You have until the end of 2023 to book all 10. You can also download a training brochure to browse what’s available and share with your team. 

Book your training bundle
 

Further resources

AbilityNet Factsheet - September 2023

Ergonomics and Computing

Ergonomics is the study people’s performance and wellbeing in relation to their and working environment. This document provides an introduction to many of the issues you need to consider when setting up a workstation. However, it is not an exhaustive guide and you may need to do some further research using the links provided.

AbilityNet are specialists in using digital technology to help people with disabilities fulfil their potential at work, at home and in education. However, the issues raised here are relevant to any employee with a workstation, and not just disabled people.

It is important that employers understand their legal responsibility to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ to protect their staff from injury and prevent discrimination. This includes adjustments to the workstation.

Learn how assistive technologies can help you and your workforce become more productive - How to use assistive technology at work, in education and at home.

Last updated: September 2023

Ergonomics is the study people’s performance and wellbeing in relation to their and working environment. This document provides an introduction to many of the issues you need to consider when setting up a workstation. However, it is not an exhaustive guide and you may need to do some further research using the links provided. AbilityNet are specialists in using digital technology to help people with disabilities fulfil their potential at work, at home and in education. However, the issues raised here are relevant to any employee with a workstation, and not just disabled people. It is important that employers understand their legal responsibility to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ to protect their staff from injury and prevent discrimination. This includes adjustments to the workstation.

Learn how assistive technologies can help you and your workforce become more productive - How to use assistive technology at work, in education and at home.

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How to make work from home more effective

Working from home can be a great way to improve your productivity and work-life balance, but it can also be challenging to stay focused and motivated. This blog post will discuss some tips on how to make remote working more effective with cost-effective, or even free, software solutions. 

A woman is sitting at a desk. On the desk there is a laptop dispalying a group call. There is also a cat which the woman is petting with one hand.How to Stay Focused When Working from Home

One of the key challenges of remote work is the absence of a traditional office environment. To combat distractions and maintain focus, consider the following strategies:

A graphic of a pencil writing on paperOrganising Notes and Staying Productive

Effective note-taking and organisation are essential for remote work. Consider using Microsoft's built-in tool, OneNote, which allows you to create multiple tabs and notebooks for organising your notes. You can also add timestamps for recurring meetings, making it easy to find relevant information. Alternatively, Google Keep offers to-do lists, quick notes, colour coding, and archive features to declutter your workspace.

Tools to Support Disabled Employees Working from Home

Working from home can present unique challenges for disabled employees, whether related to related to mental health, physical, visual, hearing, or neurodivergent barriers. Here are some tools and strategies to support various needs:

A graphic of 5 people stood in a line. One person is in a wheelchair, one person has a white cane and sunglasses, one person has a prosthetic leg, on person has a prosthetic arm, and one person has a missing limb and is using crutches.

Mental Health

  • Consider using apps like CatchIt, a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) app that allows you to record mood diaries and offers exercises and support.
  • The SAM App tracks anxiety-related feelings and provides graphs for tracking over extended periods.
  • Other apps include, MindShift, CombinedMinds, and Clear Fear.

Physical

  • My Computer My Way allows you to customise your computer with features like increasing the mouse pointer size and changing colours to suit your preferences.
  • Assistive Touch can be trained to recognise your touch patterns, preventing accidental touches and providing program locking and other features.
  • Head Control enables control of the cursor using head movements or facial gestures like eyebrow raises, smiles, and sticking out your tongue.
  • Voice Control is now built into most systems, allowing you to control your device entirely using voice commands.

A graphic of a woman sitting in a wheelchair in front of a large screen using a computer. Around her are symbols including a phone, email and heart. Visual

  • Be My Eyes connects visually impaired users with sighted volunteers, helping with tasks like reading captchas and troubleshooting technical issues.
  • Seeing AI leverages machine learning to describe visual surroundings to visually impaired users.
  • Screen readers like JAWS can help enable visually impaired people to independently use a computer with a keyboard, speech, or Braille display. 

Hearing

  • Consider transcription services like Otter (which offers color-coded speakers and other useful features) or built-in options like Microsoft Transcribe and Google Recorder.
  • Tap SOS is a helpful tool for accessing emergency services from home, ensuring your safety.

Neurodivergence and Learning

Text-to-speech tools like TextHelp and Orcam can read text aloud which can be easier to process than written speech.

  • TextHelp also has features that allow you to highlight websites and online content, and will also read this aloud.
  • Orcam is a handheld device that resembles a pen and can be dragged along written text to read this aloud. 

Incorporating these strategies and tools into your remote work routine can enhance your productivity, support your well-being, and ensure an inclusive work environment for all employees. By taking advantage of these resources, you can make working from home not only effective but also a more comfortable and accommodating experience.

Is your current way of working inclusive? 

Our expert workplace consultants can help you take stock of your organisation’s strengths and weaknesses, including current hybrid or remote working practices. They help you understand the impact on disabled employees, identify and prioritise improvements, and create a roadmap for your disability inclusion journey. Get started on your journey today by booking a free 15-minute consultation. 

Further resources

Top three ambient apps to improve focus and help you work

This blog has been updated! Originally published 13/06/2019. Amended 07/09/2023

Apps that deliver low-level ambient or ‘white noise’ can increase creativity, focus, and productivity, according to a study by the Journal of Consumer Research. These apps can combat digital distractions, such as that compulsion to check your smartphone, which we each do on average every 12 minutes, according to Ofcom.

They’re especially helpful for those that have tinnitus, as well as those with Autism and ADHD, who find it difficult to cut out background noise. Whilst this may seem counter-intuitive, the right ambient noise can be used to mask more disruptive general, or constant noise. Bill, who has ADHD, writes in Attitude magazine that “by having something to tune out, I can tune in better to what I am reading or writing.”

From powering through deadlines, to job applications or down time with a good book, we’ve pulled together our favourite apps for helping you focus on what’s important to you:

CoffitivityiPhone showing Coffitivity in use on screen

A love of cool coffee shops is considered a trend in millennial culture, but it turns out there might actually be a scientific reason young heads ducked behind laptops are often found in cafés, beyond a needed caffeine fix. Coffitivity, a free multiplatform app which plays an ambient coffee shop soundtrack, is based on research showing that the familiar buzz of baristas and clatter of coffee mugs distracts you just the right amount “to help you think outside the box.”

To help get those creative juices flowing Coffitivity has a variety of ambient soundtracks to simulate your preferred café environment. These range from Morning Murmur for a “gentle hum that gets the day going” and University Undertones for “the scholarly sounds of a campus café”. We especially enjoy the concept because it brings the benefits of a popular public hub to students who may not have physical access to a coffee shop for many reasons, including health, money or social anxiety. 

Study AmbienceiPhone showing Study Ambience app in use on screen

Study Ambience is perfect for students who prefer relaxing, meditative sounds for focusing the mind. The app is designed to ground its users, categorising its ambiances by the elements Forest, Water, Fire and Rain. The variety of earthy ambiences include cosy crackling fires, lapping waves and quiet breezy night skies.

Used for sleep as well as studying, the calming, soft sounds are designed to reduce stress and enable the over-active student mind to block out external distractions. The interface is striking yet simple, with eye-catching designs accompanying the ambiences to complete the immersive experience. There is also an offline mode for when you need to zone out when you’re on the move. 

NoisiliNoisili app shown on iPhone and Android phone

We recommend Noisili for students who have perhaps struggled to find the perfect productivity app in the past, and require very specific sounds to keep them focused. Free on the web and available to purchase on iOS and android, Noisili enables you to customise your perfect environment by mixing together different earthly sounds, ranging from rain, a train, to a fan and breezy leaves. If you want to get really creative you can start from scratch, mixing white, pink and brown noise too - mix the high and low pitches together to find a completely original frequency for you.

The Noisili interface simulates a simple mix-desk with an array of icons representing different sounds for you to choose from. To select a sound simply click on the icon, and to alter its prominence use the volume bar below it. We love how user-friendly this app is, giving you the option to save and easily access your favourite sound combinations and providing a motivating timer for productivity sessions.  

How My Computer My Way helps disabled people

Visit My Computer My Way to find more information about how to make your device easier to use, and work harder for you.

Learn how to adapt your phone, computer or tablet to meet your needs. You can search on the site for a specific need (e.g. making text larger) or filter the guides based on your symptoms (e.g. hand tremor) or condition (e.g. dyslexia). My Computer My Way can also provide guides on how to use background sounds to help you focus on your specific device. 

How else can AbilityNet help?

Older people invited to improve their digital skills over a cup of tea

AbilityNet in partnership with BT GroupMore and more everyday activities, such as booking a doctor’s appointment, shopping, banking, and paying bills, are becoming more reliant on the Internet. 

This raises the concern that some older people may be missing out due to a lack of confidence with digital devices or having limited or no access to the Internet. 

As one of the ways AbilityNet and BT Group are working together to address the digital divide, AbilityNet will be supporting BT Group's BT Tea Rooms, free sessions for older people to improve their digital skills over a cup of tea.

Where are the BT Tea Room sessions being held? 

Two older people sitting together in front of a laptop, enjoying a pot of tea.The free sessions are being held in Birmingham, Glasgow, and Bournemouth. Free food, coffee, and tea will be offered to those joining.

Session times are to be confirmed but they will take place during usual cafe opening hours between 10am - 5.30pm: 

  • Urban Emporium, Birmingham
    30 Church St, Birmingham, B3 2NP
    When: Tuesday 26 September, Wednesday 27 September, and Thursday 28 September

  • Café Fame, Glasgow
    127 Hope St, Glasgow G2 6PE
    When: Wednesday 4 October, Thursday 5 October, and Friday 6 October 
     
  • Frieda's Tea Room, Bournemouth, 
    City Centre, 7 Stafford Rd, Bournemouth BH1 1JH
    When: Tuesday 17 October, Wednesday 18 October, and Thursday 19 October 

If you yourself are interested in attending, or if you know or work with anyone who you think could benefit from individual support with honing their digital skills, please share information about sessions taking place in September and October.

What to expect during the BT Tea Room sessions?

Aimed at people aged 65 or older, the free sessions will offer support on how to use the Internet, stay safe online, and use different digital devices.

Small group of 3 older women having coffee in social setting

The sessions will offer a range of options, from a quick drop-in to ask specific questions to more detailed 30 and 90 minute sessions. 

Attendees will get support with everyday tasks such as online shopping, as well as guidance for using digital devices and how the internet can help older people socialise and stay in touch with friends and family. 

Top tips for boosting your digital skills, with BT Group
Guest speakers from BT Group, Age UK and AbilityNet shared practical ways to help ensure that senior citizens and disabled people are not left behind in the digital revolution.

- Discover resources for step-by-step guidance about using digital devices
- Understand how tech adjustments can help with sight loss, if you are deaf or hard of hearing, or with cognitive, motor or mental health issues
- Pose your questions about tech to the panel

Digital Skills sessions in your community

If you can't make it along to a BT Tea Room event, as part of AbilityNet and BT Group's efforts to improve the digital skills of older and digitally excluded people across the UK, our friendly team of Digital Skills trainers can also provide free digital skills training at home or at a community group setting.

This is currently available to support older people (65+ years) based in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh and surrounding areas.

How AbilityNet can help you

AbilityNet Factsheet - September 2023

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Computing

RA is an auto-immune disease and quite different from osteoarthritis, the ‘wear-and-tear’ form of arthritis which many people get to some degree, particularly as they get older. People with RA experience disabling pain, stiffness and reduced joint function as well as severe fatigue, which can have a huge impact on quality of life for them and their families.

Given that many people with Rheumatoid Arthritis find it painful to use a standard keyboard and mouse, AbilityNet has produced this factsheet, with the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) to cover some of the options that can help make computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones easier to use.

This factsheet is part of AbilityNet’s free Advice and Information service. If you have any questions at all about anything in this factsheet, or any other aspect of assistive technology, please contact us.

Last updated: September 2023

RA is an auto-immune disease and quite different from osteoarthritis, the ‘wear-and-tear’ form of arthritis which many people get to some degree, particularly as they get older. People with RA experience disabling pain, stiffness and reduced joint function as well as severe fatigue, which can have a huge impact on quality of life for them and their families. Given that many people with Rheumatoid Arthritis find it painful to use a standard keyboard and mouse, AbilityNet has produced this factsheet, with the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) to cover some of the options that can help make computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones easier to use. This factsheet is part of AbilityNet’s free Advice and Information service. If you have any questions at all about anything in this factsheet, or any other aspect of assistive technology, please contact us.
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How do you feel about accessibility?

Woman in street holding loudspeaker to her mouth and talking into itHow are your organisation's digital services meeting the needs of disabled people?

AbilityNet's third annual Attitudes to Digital Accessibility Survey is now live for your input, and gathers how attitudes to accessibility are changing in organisations of all shapes and sizes.

Last year, we heard from more than 400 professionals in all types of organisations. Whatever your current role we’d love to hear your thoughts about digital accessibility and inclusion. Your opinion matters!

Your contribution will help identify:

  • How attitudes to digital accessibility are changing across the world
  • Current priorities
  • If organisations are delivering on the promises they are making 

Please complete this short survey to share what you think about digital accessibility and help improve digital accessibility for everyone:

Take the 2023 survey

The survey will be open until midnight, 30 September 2023.

Your opinions matter

From analysing the results of last year's survey, we learned that senior leaders were optimistic about their organisation's digital accessibility, but that more junior managers were less positive about their organisation's committment to digital accessibility.

In addition, the survey identified that the main motivator for digital accessibility is legal requirements, followed by brand values and reputation.

Will this global picture have changed in the past 12 months, given the cost of living crisis and other external factors affecting organisational budgets? Take and share the survey to help us build that picture to make the world a more accessible place.

Share the survey

Please send this survey across your network, to reach as many people as possible.

Just share this link: www.abilitynet.org.uk/Attitudes
  
Thanks in advance for your help. 

When will the results be published?

The results will be shared in a free report and public webinar on 31 October, at 1pm GMT.

In this webinar, guest speakers from IAAP and Open Inclusion will join AbilityNet to share the findings of AbilityNet's third annual global survey into Attitudes to Digital Accessibility. Be the first to learn the results.

Register for the free webinar

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