Julie Duffy is the Visual Impairment Officer for Portsmouth Library Service.
Julie is blind and works closely with the Sensory Impairment and Deaf Services team in Portsmouth, to run the Visually Impaired Phone Advice Line, part of Portsmouth City Council. The advice line provides help and guidance on any aspect of vision impairment.
Many of the people Julie advises are elderly, many have a new diagnosis of sight loss and are often nervous of technology. For these customers, Julie recommends GuideConnect. She is confident this is the best easy-to-use computer solution for email, internet and typing documents.
Julie tells us why she recommends GuideConnect to clients.
“I was originally employed at Portsmouth City Council as a transcriber for print into Braille. Our social services team circulated a newsletter asking the visually impaired people of Portsmouth about the help and support they wanted and needed. The response was that they wanted a regular newsletter - which I still produce - and computer lessons.
These days I manage the helpline for blind and partially sighted people, their friends and family. This means I frequently advise on assistive equipment and technology – I try to give people a choice of all equipment for loan or purchase - and let them know about the magnification software that's available on any computer equipment they already have.
My clients are usually elderly and often just want a computer for day-to-day activities like sending emails and contacting family and friends who live abroad. Some want to be able to type documents and others enjoy listening to the radio and read talking newspapers.
If clients are nervous of technology, I suggest GuideConnect as their best option.
Another thing my clients frequently want is to be able to look things up on the internet. The feature I am most pleased about with GuideConnect is the internet access which is excellent".
"I have some clients with other conditions in addition to thier sight loss. For example, one lady cannot use her hands due to arthritis. GuideConnect is a great solution for this, as there is a voice input feature which means she doesn't have to type, and the Dolphin remote control is easy and comfortable for her to use.
Sometimes as people get older, they begin to lose their patience with technology, so I often hear “I wish we could say this [into the computer], rather than having to write it”. I am really excited that I can tell them about the GuideConnect voice input feature, and they are thrilled to use it.
I just feel that GuideConnect is ideal for my clients who are older, learning to cope with sight loss and want simple computer access.
Sending emails to friends, writing their own letters and searching the internet helps them feel positive, involved and less lonely.”
For many people who experience sight loss, assistive technology is a way to reclaim independence. If you’re new to technology or not very confident with computers, Dolphin GuideConnect can help. It's an easy-to-use, fully accessible computer programme that enables people with sight loss to do everyday things easily.
Watch the Meet GuideConnect video to find out more
The simple step-by-step menus in GuideConnect means people with sight loss can
- make accessible video calls
- type or dictate emails
- visit websites
- scan and read letters
- read talking books
- listen to radio stations and more.
You can use GuideConnect on a device that suits you - choose from a Windows computer, laptop, a tablet or through your TV screen using the Dolphin remote control.
Contact the Dolphin team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01905 754 577 to find out more.
You can also try GuideConnect at home, simply download a GuideConnect 30-day free trial.