Improve your digital skills

Being able to use the Internet, phones and apps is keeping families in touch, food on the table and children learning during Covid-19. We’ll help you to improve your digital skills.

It can be scary to learn something new, especially when you feel that you’ve been left behind. If there’s one thing worth remembering, it’s this.


We’ll keep adding to this page with new skills that you might need. Let us know if there’s something you want us to include. On a phone, tablet (eg iPad) or laptop computer, a survey will pop up where you can tell us what you think is missing.

Over 60s Helpline

There is a helpline for over 60s Hackney residents who want some help in getting online or using their devices. It’s available on Tuesdays 10.00 am 3.00 pm by ringing 020 3383 0111.

Get started

This video will show you the basic controls on your device and how you can use them to play videos. For example, how to pause the video or change the volume. There’s also a transcript to read along with it.

Searching on the Internet

We’ve created the following video on YouTube to show you how to search for something on the Internet. We’re ‘searching for how to create a Gmail account’ as the example.

The example uses a phone but it is very similar on a tablet. A laptop may differ slightly.

There is a transcript of the video if you would like to read along with the video.

Downloading an app – with Zoom as the example

This video below will show you how to download an app from the App Store (for Apple devices) or Google Play Store (for Android devices) onto your phone or tablet.

Apps are like mini websites. They are created by companies to make it easier for people to use their services. A company may have several apps, each for different tasks – for example, Tesco has apps for grocery shopping, Clubcard services and banking.

Watch the video and see if you can download the Zoom app from the App Store. You can also read along with this transcript.

The example uses a phone but it is very similar on a tablet.

Using email

Many companies will give you a free email account, eg Google, Yahoo, Outlook (formerly ‘Hotmail’) or AOL. And businesses like BT, Virgin, Apple or Sky will also give you one if you buy services from them.

It’s easiest to have one email account and stick with it. It doesn’t matter if you move house or get a new phone, you’ll always have the same email address.

The following videos will take you through the steps to set up and use Gmail. To do this, you need a Google (or Gmail) account. First tap or click on this Create a Gmail account link to begin on the same page as the video starts. There are a few videos covering how to use email and they will play one after the other.

The example uses a phone but it is very similar on a tablet. A laptop may differ slightly.

Supermarket shopping online

The videos below will take you through how to order a supermarket shop online. There are a few videos covering how to shop and they will play one after the other. We’re using Iceland as the example but the main steps are the same for every online supermarket.

You will need an email address to do an online shop. If you don’t have an email address then you can learn how to create a Gmail account on this page also.

The example uses a laptop and the steps may differ slightly on a phone or tablet.

Translating a website into another language

Google Chrome can quickly translate a website into another language on either a phone, tablet or laptop. This video will show you how.

You can also follow along with this transcript.


The vast majority of digital tasks are carried out online without risk or harm. However, it’s important to be aware that there are people out there with ulterior motives, and sites or emails that may not be what they first appear. Please read our Scams page for more information.

Page updated on: 8 July 2020