- A series of smartphone apps to let disabled people contact shops, petrol stations and other locations to let them know their access needs before they arrive is being developed by Sunderland-based social enterprise DisabledAccess4All ( http://www.access4allapps.com ).
The ‘Customer Assist’ app will let users request assistance both en route and after arrival. When the user arrives, the shop, service or petrol station will have received information about the assistance he or she requires so they can have an attendant ready to help.
The app will also offer directions to accessible services, and a separate ‘Parking Space Finder’ app is being developed to work with local authorities to offer people directions to the nearest blue badge parking spaces. The parking app is due to go live for testing in October, with Westminster and Sunderland councils signed up to take part.
2. Social Media
- The Telegraph reported that super-injunction leaks on Twitter have driven over-50s to the site; noting: “Twitter’s UK audience jumped by a third in May 2011 following the super-injunction leaks about Ryan Giggs, which drove a huge number of female pensioners to the site, according to new data.”
- Adam Westbrook on Twitter picked up on a comment by the Telegraph’s Tim Rowell at a recent conference, with Rowell claiming there are more over 55s with an ipad than under 35s. See the original tweet: http://twitter.com/AdamWestbrook/statuses/80572642582728704
- Jakob Nielsen has written a report on iPad usability. It’s the second such report from Nielsen Norman Group and it features in-depth analysis about how people are using iPads.
The iPad report, co-authored by Raluca Budiu and Jakob Nielsen, is a hefty 129 pages and available for free download. The report tested 26 iPad apps and six websites. The testers in this study were required to have at least two months experience using iPads.
There has been “good uptake of several of our recommendations from last year,” claims the report – such as apps implementing back buttons, broader use of search, homepages and direct access to articles by touching headlines on the front page.
The report reiterates a common understanding about the iPad, that it’s mostly for media consumption. Email is “the only slight exception to the rule.” Specifically, the Nielsen participants reported using their iPads for games, checking email and social network sites, watching movies and videos, and reading news.
The study tested a few tasks that were performed both on the Web (meaning via a Web browser on the iPad) and using an application. The report concludes that “our participants were always successful on the Web [but] a third of the corresponding tasks that involved apps ended in failure.” The report gives two reasons for this:
- The apps contained less content than the websites.
- The app design was confusing or the app made the user work more.
There’s also some useful analysis of how iPad usage differs from the computer. E.g.:
“From our testing of news and magazine apps, it turns out that most users read just a few articles per session, and spend most of their time scanning headlines and summaries for something of interest. That’s why it’s important to support the browsing activity better by giving it extra space, especially if there are a lot of news stories to go through.”
4. Digital Switchover
- Digital UK have published their annual report for the year to 31 March 2011.
Last year, 2.5 million homes across the UK went through switchover, with nearly 11 million homes due to complete switchover in 2011. DUK noted: “This would not have been possible without the support of our partners, including the many charities and community groups which provided practical help and advice.” Read more about their work and watch a video here.
- The Guardian asked “Why can so few programmes document disability without grotesque fascination or patronising sentimentality?” in this article:
“Last week, Born to be Different – Channel 4’s long-running biopic chronicling the lives of six disabled children – drew to a close having achieved television’s trickiest feat: documenting disability without grotesque fascination or patronising sentimentality. In a disaster-laden genre, it’s a success few others can claim.
When depicting disability, mainstream broadcasters give us the good but they give us the bad and the ugly – and in the case of Bodyshock or Extraordinary People, do so while calling them exactly that. The modern day freak show, these ratings hits mix deformity, disability and obesity into a one-size-fits-all hatchet job of ignorance. Products of the school of literal titles, new specials such as It’s Not Easy Being a Wolf Boy, The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off, and The Girls with Too Much Skin, emerge yearly. The damage, though, is actually diminished by the total lack of subtlety, their almost impressively brazen lack of attempt to be doing anything remotely worthy.”
- Channel 4 has launched a search for talented disabled production staff. Paid placements of up to 12 months, are being offered in sport, drama, factual and factual entertainment programming. Applications closed on Monday 6 June 2011.
Visit the Channel 4 website for more information:
6. Assistive Technology
- The Alzheimer’s Society has published a position paper on assistive technology for people with dementia, based on a literature review and a seminar of stakeholders. The paper provides an introduction to AT (low-tech and high-tech), discusses how AT can enable better care and help carers, considers how people with dementia in the UK could have better access to AT, looks at future developments and government policies in this area, and makes recommendations to address the practical and ethical issues raised. The report is here.
- The AT Dementia website brings together information about assistive technology and other products that can help support the independence and leisure opportunities of people with dementia. The website is here.
- A free booklet, ‘Getting Equipped to Tackle Forgetfulness’, is available to download from FAST via this link.
- The ‘AT guide’, a self-help guide to how technology can help you to live well with dementia published by the Disabled Living Foundation, is here.
- The Thomas Pocklington Trust has published a paper on telebefriending schemes for people with sight loss which is available here.
7. Social Care
- The Law Commission has published proposals for the ‘most far-reaching reforms of adult social care law seen for over 60 years’. A single statute would replace current legislation, so that service users and carers would be clear about their rights and councils would be clear about their responsibilities.
The new statute would establish that the ‘overarching purpose of adult social care is to promote or contribute to the well-being of the individual’ based on the ‘individual’s views, wishes and feelings’. Other recommendations include: giving carers new legal rights to services; placing duties on councils and the NHS to work together; building a single, streamlined assessment and eligibility framework; and placing Safeguarding Adult Boards on a statutory footing.
- According to Age UK, 800,000 people who currently need care receive no formal support from either the state or private sector agencies. The charity’s report is here.
- Spending on long-term care in OECD countries is set to double, even triple, by 2050, driven by ageing populations. Governments need to make their long-term care policies more affordable and provide better support for family careers and professionals, according to a report from the international economic organisation, which is here.
- A BBC survey of 76% of councils in England research suggests a North-South divide in spending on adult social care. Spending will fall by an estimated 4.7% to £3.4 billion in the North in 2011/12 and rise by 2.7% to £3.33 billion in the South. More here.
8. Older People
- UK Older People’s Day is on 1 October. The theme for 2011 is staying active in later life. More information, including resources to support local events are available via this link.
9. Third Sector
- The government has published the ‘Giving White Paper’ to encourage charitable giving and volunteering. Commitments include:
- a £30 million fund to improve the effectiveness of infrastructure organisations that support front line organisations;
- £700,000 to support Philanthropy UK connecting wealthy people with charities that need their support;
- trial charity promotions on the public service website Directgov.
- The banks have also agreed to enable giving through all their cash machines in 2012. The white paper is here.
- 2011 is RNID’s centenary year. On their 100th birthday on 9th June, RNID changed their name to Action on Hearing Loss to better reflect what they do and the hearing check is an important element of their activity. Around 4 million people who experience hearing loss could benefit from hearing aids but it takes, on average, 10 years for someone to do something about their hearing loss.
- The Media Trust have announced a recent package of funding which will enable the Community Channel to continue to broadcast for another couple of years at least, and will enable them to re-launch Community Newswire, the charity news distribution service run in partnership with the Press Association.
The funding will also enable us to support a network of community-led news hubs and citizen journalists across the UK, supported by our media industry mentors, and Media Trust’s wider package of training and online advice, mentors and story-telling.