Archive for March, 2006

User interface: Cool tools

March 30, 2006

For me, I think the greatest change for the new web, is tools. Cool tools to be precise. Being able to use tools at a web 2.0 site that enables you to achieve many things is awesome. Things that make every day life easier.

Because my new world of parenting and technology has collided I am forever wishing for all my favorite things being in a logical and organised format, able to be accessed from one page. I have found it, and it's called Cingo!!!! The site aggregates personalised data into tabs. The main areas are "My homepage", Bookmarks, calendar, webmail, but what makes this site exciting is that the subsequent tabs have news, movies, travel, shopping, grocery list and the interface at each tab is a playground for pods, or widgets, (little areas of presented data that you can customise). I do personally think they should have a tab on Parenting Advice from Minti in RSS format of customisable article topics (of course I would say that, I am one of the co-founders of minti) :).

Back to user interfaces, I do strongly believe user interfaces need to offer something more than just information. The user interface (what you see and experience when visiting a website) needs to be interactive. It's great if sites focus on this core aspect of social networking, by offering RSS feeds (ability to subscribe to topics you want to), tag clouds (keywords relevant to the topic, more the keyword is attached to the topic, the larger the keyword gets and you can sometimes click on the tags to find the relevant content), ajax (registers changes without having to reload the page again), ability to add content and contribute, you are using the site more that just logging in or searching. I think it adds a 'fun factor'. The more fun you have, I believe the site's offering has really understood it's users.

Being able to subscribe to the content, cool community tools once you become a member, like at Cingo enhances the social aspect of not only interacting with the site (or user interface) but you also enhance that sense of belonging and feel compelled to interact with other members.

More family sites see my blog on Talking Tech on Family 2.0…Info on explaining the new web, "the truth about Web 2.0" by Paul Graham and "Wired's worse story comes true" and "Web 2.0" by Paul Boutin. Cool sites being talked about everyday, see "Techcrunch" by Michael Arrington.

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Minimal restriction

March 4, 2006

What? At a deeper level? To give an example of a site giving the visitor minimal restriction to add content we would have to take a look at Wikipedia.org

You would be familiar with Encyclopedia Britannica volumes of hardback bound books of articles detailing and description every topic and subject matter of the world. Have you ever imagined who wrote the content in these books? You would most likely say, paid academics or people on respected enough to write on for or within Britannica.

Say there where many thousands of academics and people in professions around the world able to contribute to an article on a particular subject, say ‘Egyptian Mummies’, the callaboration and quest to provide the most up-to-date information, as well as detail would be one big motivation. If you are passionate about something you want to provide input. Wikipedia is an amazing place were anyone can go to an article and edit the information. The community moderates the articles, but in essence anyone can add information to a particular topic. The power to do this is phenomenal to an every day person, let alone a tech head. If you do want to add your own article an area it is only one article which is then built upon and added to by the community or visitors. At some level you must be a member, and rules exist, but anyone can be apart of contributing to building the worlds largest and free online encylopedia!

Minimal restriction to add at it’s best. Your content you add is stored on Wikipedia’s servers. Buidling data on their database. Does this makes sense?

The same for another site; Bubbleshare you can upload photos and create albumns to share with family and friends. Again, your photos are stored on Bubbleshare’s photos for free, building a big database of photos. Can you see how exciting this is. No more paying for services and better still they are so easy to use!!!

Why are they free? Because Google has created an affiliate ad program for sites that helps keep it free. Like TV advertising it pays for Free to Air TV. (Here in Ozzie Land).