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By Ian Chester, Store Manager – Dunstable, Westfield Road

I’ve been a manager at Co-op for the past 13 years and I’ve been a Store Manager at the Dunstable store for the past 9 years. 

One of the great things about our store, other than the friendly customers and my amazing colleagues, is that it’s a Store of Excellence. Being a Store of Excellence gives us the unique opportunity to trial new tools and software first before they’re launched throughout the entire store estate.

One thing I’ve learned from the colleagues I work and converse with is that when we launch new technology, we need to launch it with accessibility in mind. Being registered blind, this is especially important to me. Change can be scary for some people, but if the change makes life more difficult, it can easily create fear and panic. 

Like others, I want technology to make my life easier. That means having access to the right kind of training that’s focussed on the new features, device specific, is really important. 

But, what’s as equally important is simply talking to fellow colleagues about what’s available and where to find it. For example, as part of the campaign to raise awareness of the accessibility features within Office 365, I’ve learnt more about the Immersive Reader feature within Teams, which is essential for me with being blind. It’s a great little tool – find out more about it here


What’s the main thing I’d like people to think about when it comes to accessibility and Office 365? It has to be to have a play around with the system! I’d encourage all colleagues that have got access to it to take the time to get used to it so we can all go into it confidently. By having a play around, I hope it teaches others more about how the new features can support all of us.

We’re an inclusive business and I’d hate to see people feel like they’ve been left behind. Technology can really help with this. 

More information

For more information about how you can manage accessibility settings in Office 365 or for guidance, visit our Accessibility site