Sheffield Royal Society of the Blind (SRSB) has finished its pilot ‘try before you buy’ scheme for visually impaired people, made possible by a grant from the WCIT Charity. Its aim had been to help older people with low levels of confidence use technology, and provide them with the equipment and support to help them socialise, communicate and look after themselves.
The trial found that Synapptic tablets did not work for everyone; some people found it easier to use accessible software on a phone instead. Having learnt that one size does not fit all, and that the usability of the technology depends on an individual’s eye condition, level of visibility, their ability and motivation to learn, SRSB will continue to run the project in the future but will offer a variety of equipment at different price points.
Nearly all of the project participants mentioned how much it had impacted their mental health and well-being, as it had given them the opportunity to communicate with family and friends, order goods online and take part in activities, such as SRSB’s book club, that would have otherwise been inaccessible.