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Dimensions 2

“One of my main problems is that if I read a word incorrectly, then the sentence doesn’t make sense. If I receive a very long or important email, I now listen to it through Read&Write. This is a lot quicker, as I don’t have to read it two or three times to understand it. Another useful benefit is that when I’m sending important emails, I get Read&Write to read them back to me: that way I can hear my errors.”

Bev Beaven, Senior Accountant, Dimensions UK
Dimensions 1

“As an organisation we have a sense of responsibility to support every individual’s accessibility needs. And it’s natural we should extend that philosophy to the facilities offered to our own staff with Read&Write.”

James Shepherd, IT Operations & Portfolio Office Manager, Dimensions UK

Dimensions UK


Bringing fresh Dimensions to accessibility with Read&Write

Background

Founded in 1976, Dimensions UK is a trailblazer in helping people with learning disabilities and autism lead ordinary lives in their local communities.

Headquartered to the west of London in Reading, the non-profit organisation employs over 7,000 staff at 700+ sites across the UK. Its support workers provide on-the-ground assistance to thousands of people living independently or in registered care homes.

Personalised support for every employee

Reflecting its mission to provide personalised support for every individual’s needs, Dimensions has introduced Read&Write - our easy-to-use literacy toolbar - to assist staff with everyday office tasks. “We want to encourage everyone’s independence, regardless of a learning or other disability like dyslexia, visual impairments, physical or other learning disabilities,” says James Shepherd, IT Operations & Portfolio Office Manager who oversees Dimensions’ IT infrastructure.

Available on around 1,800 laptops and desktop PCs plus 2,000 Android tablets across Dimensions’ premises, Read&Write helps staff with a wide range of day-to-day office tasks, from writing reports and presentations to accessing the intranet and completing external research. What’s more, it’s of value for Dimensions staff for whom English is a second language.

As James stresses, accessibility for all has been central to Dimensions’ Read&Write deployment strategy: “Nobody needs to declare any kind of disability. It’s there for everyone, all the time… with no stigma attached in asking to use the software.”  

Making the workplace more efficient

“Like other organisations we’re hugely email-driven, sending around 25,000 messages every day,” notes James. “Read&Write allows staff to create and process content more efficiently – from reading text aloud to sentence checking before they hit Send.”

Created by IT Helpdesk Deputy Team Leader Iain Bailey, Dimensions’ ‘Learning Connect’ web portal helps staff get the best out of using Read&Write. This widely-used internal resource is populated with training videos and how-to guides produced by Iain and his colleagues.

“There are other workplace literacy tools out there, but they’re not as complete as Read&Write – and they’re far more costly,” explains James. “On that basis it’s been a no-brainer for us to give everyone the workplace supports they need.”

Read&Write isn’t just for the benefit of staff. It’s also available on personal devices used by individuals that Dimensions supports. “It can help give people a real sense of independence” confirms James. “For some people Read&Write is a handy tool. For others it’s been life-changing.”