A pioneering app, which one of the world’s best-known furniture stores is helping to further develop, is assisting disabled people in Harrogate to complete tasks without the need for constant supervision.
“How Do I?” – which delivers instructional videos to people with learning difficulties – is being used by trainees at Disability Action Yorkshire to PAT test donated electrical items, which are then sold at its Hornbeam Park social enterprise.
The app uses Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in order to create a step-by-step instructional video that helps users get new skills and manage everyday tasks.
A special sticker, no bigger than a £2 coin, is placed on near certain objects, such as kettles, toasters and washing machines.
Then, using a mobile phone to scan the sticker, the How Do I? app plays a video explaining each stage needed to complete a given task, such as making a cup of tea and washing clothes.
Last year How Do I? was chosen by IKEA to join its accelerator programme and to work with them in Sweden to further develop the app.
On the back of this, the How Do I? team approached Disability Action Yorkshire to explore how the technology could further benefit disabled not only in the home, but in a work environment too.
The first tutorial they have collaborated on is for trainees to learn how to test electrical items, known as a PAT test (portable appliance testing).
How Do I? co-founder and Chief Product Officer Tom Casson said: “Our partnership with Disability Action Yorkshire is giving us a valuable insight into ways that we can advance our app even further.
“This organisation has more than 80 years’ experience working with disabled people, and it is this knowledge that we are tapping into. We have worked with them to develop a bespoke PAT testing video, which is now being successfully used by trainees.
“The next phase is for individual companies to uploads their own tutorials to the How Do I? platform, which is what the Disability Action Yorkshire team are in the process of doing.”
Jackie Snape, Disability Action Yorkshire Chief Executive, said: “One of our key aims is for disabled people to lead as independent lives as possible, which includes access to work.
“Assistive technology is opening doors to a whole new world for disabled people and the How Do I? app enables disabled people to work without constant supervision.
“Whilst PAT testing was tailor made for us, it can be used by any individual or organisation. We are now looking where we can use it next, not only here in our own training centre, but in external businesses too.”