Showing posts with label Internet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Internet. Show all posts

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Thrilling And Educative “User Testing” Event, Courtesy Teekha Web

As an Internet enthusiast, I will cherish for a long time the nice experience that I had yesterday (15th May 2011). So which experience am I referring to? Well, yesterday I had the opportunity to attend, and be part of, a “User Testing” event conducted by “Teekha Web”, the upcoming online solutions consultancy launched by a bunch of passionate and energetic Web enthusiasts, who eat, sleep and breath WWW.

The concept of “User Testing”, as they explained to me, entails conceptualizing and designing the outline of a web site by strictly keeping in mind the target user. Well, people may say that there is nothing unusual about it, as the target audience is kept in mind while preparing every web site. That is in fact one of the basic rules of web site preparation. True! But as a former content writer I know that this focus on target audience is given mainly while preparing the web site contents (such as text and its language, images and pictures, etc.). But usually not much focus is given on user friendliness in terms of “navigation designing”. It is very common for web site makers to forget to judge whether their web site is easy to navigate, where the user will be able to easily detect the appropriate links, before clicking on the same and accessing exactly those web site pages that contain the information/data that they are looking for.

And it is precisely this factor that is emphasized on in this “User Testing” concept. As per this concept, before actually getting into preparing the web site content, the content preparation team should sit together and conceptualize the web site home page through the eyes of the target audience. They will discuss among themselves (a la brainstorming) and try to identify each and every information/data that the target audience will like to have in the web site. And they will give equal focus on how the links to those data are to be put on the web site, so that the target audience has no problem in detecting/identifying those links and click on them. The basic tenet of the “User Testing” concept is that it is not enough to put necessary information/data in the web site. But you should also ensure it that the target audience has no problem in identifying the links to those data. If the links to those data get lost in the “jungle” of various confusing links, etc., and the target audience fails to access the information/data that they are looking for, then the presence of those information/data in the web site becomes meaningless, right?

I in fact had the “hands on” experience to be a part of this “User Testing” practice. I joined a team that was conceptualizing the home page of a hotel, and enjoyed the experience like anything. While it left me nostalgic by reminding me the experience I used to have as a content writer, I also enjoyed the thrill of learning a new but key concept of web site preparation.

I profusely thank “Teekha Web” team for the great experience (which was both educative and thrilling), and wish them all the best.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Should Children’s Access To Cyber Café Be Restricted?

Nobody denies the fact that the Internet is very educative for children, as it is the window for a vast ocean of knowledge. However, we all know that children’s unrestrictive access to the Internet can backfire, as it may expose them to stuff that are harmful for them (for example Porn sites).

This explains why parents so closely monitor their children’s Internet surfing.

However, while we can monitor the use of our children’s Internet surfing at home, can we do the same when they do the same from the internet cafes? No, we cannot.

This exposes us to the question – should children’s access to cyber café be restricted?

Well, a couple of things may be done to address the issue. For example, every café can be strictly asked to block all sorts of porn sites, so that no kid can access them from a café. However, porn sites are not the be all and end all of web pornography. There are several other online stuff that technically do not come within the sphere of “porn sites” or “pornography”, but nevertheless remain to be adult stuff quite unsuitable for impressionable minds of children. How can the cafes ensure – even if they are honest in their endeavour – that the children will not have any access to such types of stuff?

However, my actual concern is not only the type of stuff that the kids view in the Web. Rather, I am more concerned about the time when they visit the café.

There are two cafes in my neighbourhood which I regularly visit. And every time I visit the café I find a lot of children, either busy in online chatting or playing various computer games.

Online chatting and computer games are certainly very enjoyable for kids, and they are certainly not harmful habits per se. I do not have anything against them. But what disturbs me is that I find kids doing such stuff in the café even in the afternoon, i.e.
the time when they are supposed to play.

We must remember that the age old and universal culture of children playing in the afternoon is not just an ordinary custom. Rather, it is a crucial habit. Physical health is as important for a child as his studies are. Things like sports and exercise help him develop a healthy and sound mind, which helps me a lot in various matters including his studies. And it is a matter of great concern if little children spend their time in the cyber café in the afternoon, when they are supposed to play – whatever games they like – to develop their physical health.

We simply cannot entertain them spending that time by browsing the Internet, even if they are browsing educative sites that are good for their studies and/or G.K. Tell me, would you like your child to spend the afternoon in his study with a book, even if it is a good book? No. You will rather like him to go out and play, and read the book only after coming back home. Similarly, we should not entertain our kids browsing the Internet at the time when they should go out and play, even if they are browsing those sites which we know to be really good for them.
There is an appropriate time for everything, and we must not forget it.

But while we can dissuade our children from Internet browsing in the afternoon when they are doing it at home, how can we be sure that they will not do the same from a cyber café after going out from home?

Therefore, can any such rule be made that will prevent the cyber cafes from allowing children at certain times of the day (for example -the afternoon)?