Yorkshire Dales User Empowerment Workshop

The Yorkshire Dales ITRACT User Empowerment Workshop was held on Wednesday 15 October 2014 at Hudson House, Reeth, as a basic computer training session looking especially at journey planners and introducing the new journey planner, ShareRoute, which has been developed in the Yorkshire Dales as part of the ITRACT project.

We placed an advert in the October issue of the Reeth Gazette to advertise the User Empowerment Workshop. We also put posters up in Hudson House, the Reeth community centre, library and tourist information centre.

We prepared a basic guide to using journey planners and ticket booking websites, to be given out to people who attended the User Empowerment Workshop, so that they could follow up on what they had learned at home. The guide was aimed at showing people the most important information and controls on popular journey planning websites, to make them easier to use.

The event was run by Julie of Quick Start IT, and Ed Beale of West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Between us we brought a variety of laptop and tablet devices for people to use. The event was held in the computer room in Hudson House, where there were also four Windows 7 desktop computers for participants to use. As a drop-in session, the event was tailored to the needs of each person who attended. At the end, the participants were shown the pilot version our new journey planner ShareRoute and we sought their feedback about whether they would find it useful.

We found that the people who attended the User Empowerment Workshop either did not use computers or occasionally used the public computer in the library. Their computer skills level was low or zero. Therefore they were mainly interested in the absolute basics of using a computer and/or the internet. Most were interested in taking their learning further and were interested in other computer courses happening locally. We were able to point them to a voluntary organisation in Richmond who run occasional computer courses.

© Jan Frick 2014