Supporting Staff With Dyslexia

There are many ways to help your staff with dyslexia achieve more in the workplace, including online dyslexia training from CPD Bytes. A lot of the problems that they will incur on a daily basis can be reduced or eliminated with a little careful thought and planning. The following are a few suggestions in how to achieve this using information distributed by the British Dyslexia Association.

Make a proper assessment

Each person with dyslexia will be affected in different ways. Because there will be no ‘one size fits all’ solution it’s imperative to find out about your staff personally, assess their individual needs and apply them to the work involved.

Consider their working environment, how that will affect their specific difficulties, and also consider what’s involved in their day-to-day work practices. If special training is available that you believe will help their day run smoother then discuss this with your member of staff and see if they agree.

It’s worth remembering that none of these suggestions are set out to be an overnight remedy, just to make adaptations to help with your staff’s tasks. Real changes take time. Remember to review and assess the situation regularly, that way you can keep tweaking until the system is efficient as possible.

Written Communication

Issues related to reading

Always try to give verbal as well as written instruction. Staff with the condition will be more in tune with verbal communication, in fact it can often be considered a strength when compared standard readers, so tell them what’s going on and reiterate the highlights with written bulleted notes afterwards for reference.

In a similar way you can highlight important information in documents with markers and highlighter pens. This way they will know exactly where the important information is without having to trawl entire documents to find it.

Sending round robin memos and emails to your staff may be more difficult to understand quickly for dyslexic staff; wherever possible could you use voicemail or voice memos rather than written ones to avoid additional reading?

When it comes to reading there are a host of technologies now that convert text into speech. Consider any of these if your staff member thinks that they will help. Software for all computer operating systems is widely available and C-Pen readers can convert loose documents into text in order to transfer it to a computer, some will even read it aloud. A traditional scanner with text recognition software will work just as well if other options aren’t readily available.

Another factor to consider with reading related issues is the use of coloured paper or coloured backgrounds on computer, tablet and mobile devices. It’s widely accepted that bright white backgrounds interfere with the reader’s comprehension; soft colours such as creams, pastels and off-whites can alleviate this considerably.

Issues related to reading and writing

It goes without saying but if you want to help your staff read or write any document then always allow them the correct amount of time. It is likely to be longer than it would be for typical readers so try to accept that not allowing that extra time for your staff member is likely to put them under unnecessary additional pressure to keep up, and we all know that’s where mistakes are often made.

If there are alternatives you can set up to avoid time spent reading then consider how to implement those into the work structure. You can always discuss the reading material if it’s of a suitable length to make it a practical option; you can then outline the summaries and key points in your conversation.

Where possible try to use audio or image based information. Anything that avoids reading blocks of text will help your staff. Videos, illustrations, infographics, drawings, diagrams and flowcharts are all good replacements to presenting factual information.

Mind-mapping software can be used to convert text into visually organised information using diagrams and charts. There is a host of software available and also methods in learning how to make notes in this format to hand to your staff.

Digital recorders can be used to pass verbal notes as opposed to written ones and speech to text software now comes as standard on practically all computers and devices. Make sure your staff has them installed, turned on and is willing to use them wherever appropriate.

Another simple solution to take pressure from the dyslexic is to allow somebody else to take minutes of meetings and then pass them on at the end. They can then be transposed onto a computer to be easier understood or converted to whatever means necessary to be utilised fully.

Spelling and Grammar

As well as text reading and technical mind mapping solutions your staff should also be aware of the range of assistive text software available. Most computers and devices offer at least a basic spell check facility, some will add grammar correction to the function, and there are both offline and online text editors and grammar checkers that will alert the user to any errors they may have overlooked during the writing process.

If you know a member of staff has the condition then it’s going to be vital to proofread any work that is going to be seen by a client or to be put into the public domain. As discussed previously, you can’t pigeonhole everybody with the disorder, so it’s important to assess them specifically in order to know what level of observation regarding their work you’ll need to take. Only time will tell on that score so be vigilant until you both feel comfortable with your situation.

Computers

Having already touched on how different background colours can affect reading text for your staff member so can any way a screen may appear to dazzle or distract the user. Anti-glare filters can often be a great solution to this problem and are readily available from many stationers, office supplies outlets or dyslexia specialists.

The brightness of a screen can have a great impact, remind your staff to keep an eye on it, and to take regular breaks too – at least one in every hour to give their vision a chance to settle back to its normal state. You can alternate computer work and other tasks to break up the challenges of reading and writing and also to give struggling eyes a rest to reset.

To really help alleviate problems arising from the disorder try and help your staff to avoid all day computer work if at all possible, especially if it can work for both them and the company.

Conclusion

An office is more than a room containing desks, chairs, phones and computers. It’s the people too who make it a professional environment. If any of your staff have dyslexia then you can help in ways both personal and practical to maintain that level of professionalism, and without any undue additional problems to your team.

Changing the system to better handle the technical aspects; such as specialist software, hardware, reading and writing equipment, communication methods and more will bring physical advantages to your staff member.

However, the understanding and ability to work with your staff by removing areas where they may struggle will add countless benefits not only to the worker’s production but also to their sense of well-being, appreciation and mood around the workplace; and this could be seen as one of the biggest advantages of all because if you’re staff are happy in their roles they work harder and more efficiently, they become more productive and that increased level of productivity is where the real profit is made.

Exploring the possibilities of Virtual Reality technology across, Education, Gambling, and Advertising

Virtual Reality is one of those inventions that creates a huge foray of attention in a lot of industries. Because it’s potential is so vast it’s a first over the finish line race to capitalise on the technology and find a way to revolutionise your business or product.

One of the reasons virtual reality exceeds is that it creates an immersive and escapist environment. Where once this would have been associated with lazy video game players and other ‘useless’ activity new industries are taking advantage of the technology and using it to benefit their businesses and customer base. Here are just some of the industries taking advantage of virtual reality and using it to innovate.

Education

They say you learn more from experience than you do from reading out of a textbook or listening to a teacher. Schools across the country have opted to invest in virtual reality technology to deliver students young and old with immersive lessons that place students at the centre of stories, where decisions can be made to both educate and explore. For example, imagine a history student learning about Ancient Greek civilisation, rather than reading out of textbooks, students can engage with virtual reality and transport themselves through a VR headset deep into a historical moment.

We’re a long way off before we get this sort of technology across all classrooms but it offers food for thought on the possibilities of what can arise from this technology through intense funding and infrastructural planning.

Gambling Industries

The online gaming and e-gaming industries are one of the most recent markets to capitalise on virtual reality technology. Reports suggest that gambling wagers are set to rise from around $58 million per year to roughly $520 million per year by 2021. Perhaps the closest we have to VR gambling at the moment is live virtual casinos. Live casinos enable you to play from the comfort of your own home while playing with a live visible dealer through a VR headset.

Scott Manford, CEO of Wizard Slots said: “At Wizard Slots we welcome any new technology that is going to push the industry forward and offer our customers a more immersive gameplay experience. Virtual Reality is still in its infancy within the gambling sector so it will be interesting to see how the technology develops.”

“The most pleasing progression would be to see gambling companies and casinos working together with the VR industry to develop online slot games that are both efficient and cost-effective for the average player. If we look at the quality of some of the branded video slots we already possess you can only imagine the scope that VR will have on the Gambling industry.”

Because VR is such a new technology predictions suggest that this technology in the gambling industry will take a while to implement across the broader landscape. Some smartphone companies now have VR headsets that can be applied to headsets which could offer a remote casino experience like no other.

Advertising

It’s no surprise that the advertising industry are taking advantage of VR to market products to consumers. Advertising however, could also be something that could cross-reference a multitude of industries. If VR advertising can capitalise on the sensory weaknesses of humans then they can bridge the gap between TV and Print adds to create a marketing method that customers simply can’t turn down. Similarly though, the roadblocks come with the battle for cost-effectivity and the implementation of this sort of technology on a mass, accessible scale.

What’s next?

Oculus, HTC, and Samsung are all leading the way in developing VR software and devices that can be applied to mass-market items but the question remains of how cost effective this will be and how necessary it is to the markets. Perhaps it’ll take a proven case study for industries to whole-heartedly get on board with virtual reality. But for now it remains a spectacle that is yet to be taken advantage of.

How finance companies digitally empower customers

Banking and financial services – everyone needs them – but it’s only recently that people are learning to use them more effectively to meet their specific needs.

Part of the reason for this is the increasing quality of financial information that’s available online – you don’t have to settle for whichever financial product is thrust in your direction whether its a loan, credit card or a debt solutions such as a Trust Deed, you’ve got a world of comparisons and options literally at your fingertips.

But what are banks and financial organisations doing to keep up? If you can understand how you’re empowered as a customer, you’ll be able to decide if you’re getting the best experience possible…

Why web and app design matters

The average person picks their phone up about 75-100 times in a day. Despite the fact we still refer to our do-everything pocket computers as ‘phones’ – we actually spend 90% of the time we’re holding them using apps.

Of the millions of apps available to us, we tend to prioritise around 5 – with app checking becoming more of a habit or compulsion than a necessity. The reason we’re able to open them and navigate our newsfeeds and timelines so quickly is because of the way they’re designed.

Time spent on an app means money for the business behind it, whether that’s through additional features that’ll make your life and habits more pleasurable – or advertising that’s put in front of you, the more time you’re ‘in the shop’ – the more likely you are to spend.

Keeping you there is ALL about good design and compelling content. Not convinced – here’s how the best financial websites are keeping you as a customer:

Brand is key

People like environments in which they’re comfortable. Your favourite restaurant, room in the house or retail outlet are all examples of this – but it’s also true of your digital life.

The chances are you know your way around your email inbox – or you favourite social media app. Access them through your browser and you’ll see all those familiar and comforting logos, buttons and layouts – just as you will if you pick up your tablet, laptop or any other device you can access it on.

Financial institutions know that if they can do the same you’ll feel at home using their services – so expect to see consistency of branding, user interfaces and layouts no matter where you log on. The more you use their services the more comfortable you become with handling your finances – handing control over to you – no matter how you’re digitally interacting.

Educate and inform

Since the financial crash of 2008, financial organisations have been viewed with some suspicion by consumers – and that’s a view that is unlikely to end up with signatures on dotted lines for money products and services.

The only way around this is to win trust back – and banks have been doing so by producing exceptional content that’s designed to educate and inform existing and potential customers. This can’t just be any old content though – it has to offer significant value – and one of the best ways of doing this is explaining how people can stay in control of their finances.

The last 5 years have seen increasing numbers of online and print articles and designed to help people make the very best decisions around what’s best for them financially – whether that’s saving, investing, managing their current account or finding appropriate credit products, banks are keen to been viewed as less predatory – and more like a trusted financial partner.

Customer first

Although we’ve covered the benefits of banks offering good advice and support via well produced and marketed content – talk is cheap unless the same organisations are willing to back those seemingly good intentions up with products that area created with customers (and not just profits) in mind.

Doing this requires so deep analysis of customer’s online behaviour. What are people reading about? What are people researching? How does their profile fit with what other people are looking for and using?

Data is very powerful – and has traditionally been used to find ways of maximising profits for organisations. Now, financial bodies are using this data to create products that answer the demand of their customers. A big benefit for banks who can respond quickly in a world of comparisons and quick alternatives – and a huge benefit for customers, who get what they want – instead of what they’re given.

Security

Crime is changing – 20 years ago the bank robber’s chosen weapon was a gun, now – it’s a laptop.

One false move, click or inputting of details online can lead to significant losses – and it makes people nervous. Nerves do not lead to empowerment and a deeper understanding of what can be done with your finances online – so banks need to reassure.

That reassurance doesn’t come in the overt ways you might think. Consistency is one of the biggest factors in letting you know you’re safe. A financial organisation’s website has to be perfectly branded with those brand guidelines applied flawlessly across all communication – digitally, on paper, at physical branches and even verbally… inconsistencies call brand authenticity into doubt.

While security is important – a balance needs to be struck to make sure it is not prohibitive to a customer who’s legitimately trying to use their service. Steps forward in mobile technology have made this increasingly feasible – with fingerprint log-ins and other similar functions being adopted to make sure your account is safe.

Diverse customer service

In days gone by, banks would open from 9am until 5pm – so if you worked the same hours you would struggle to use their service. Even in the days of telephone banking you often had to sneak a phone call during a lunch break if you wanted to speak to someone.

Not being able to interact with your bank is the exact problem banks now try to solve through technology – meaning websites will try to solve you problems with extensive FAQ sections, email support, instant messaging services, call back request form and much more. Allowing access to the support that surrounds your account is an absolutely vital step in empowering your account holders.…