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Bernice helps drive website redesign

When Bernice Turbill was asked for her input in a website redesign project, she was only too happy to help.

The 94-year-old has been a keen user of digital technology for the last 15 years, ever since she inherited her son’s second-hand computer.

She now has her own computer and iPad, which she uses to keep in touch with family, order online books and search for information. She keeps up to date with technology with help from ACH Group support worker Matt Griffin, who is also an IT specialist, when he visits once a week.

Bernice was a member of one of two reference groups appointed to trial ACH Group’s new website which went live in December. She visited the company’s head office at Mile End and used a magnifying glass to assess the changes and share her feedback with web developers.

Information technology is especially important for Bernice, who has a vision impairment and can no longer drive, garden or read printed books. It allows her to keep in touch with family interstate.

“Without a computer I wouldn’t be able to read books any more, I would have to rely on audio books,” she says. “Matt showed me how to enlarge the fonts on e-books which I order from the library. I play games like Solitaire, I look things up to help me with the Saturday quiz, and send emails to my family. It’s a wonderful way of communicating.”

Bernice believes that many older people would benefit from information technology but are often apprehensive. “I think there are a lot of older people who don’t even use a mobile phone, or a computer, but it’s not hard,” she says. “Most people could do it if they had a bit of encouragement. It really is within people’s reach.”

Bernice appreciated being asked to contribute to the website. “Older people are a little bit challenged in today’s world and they say I won’t do that, it’s for young people. But I don’t think we need to accept that.”

Among her suggestions, Bernice felt the text could be darker – a change that was implemented.

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