Archive for 28 June 2002

Member of the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (MIEEE)

Interactivity can build trust

In his opinion piece “Keep cool over interactivity” (Computer Weekly, 13 June) Tony Butcher appears to be confusing the issue of interactivity with poor usability.

Interactive Web sites build relationships between the business and consumer, they do not need a vast array of multimedia add‐ons to do that.

His assumptions appear to be based on the 1997 Web, where client‐side
technologies were all the rage.

Server‐side solutions linked to databases have allowed businesses to build up an image of their customer base and provide them with a unique service without the
need for additional software.

However, a simple feedback form may increase trust in a company in a way that fancy 3D graphics will not.

How many times have you felt inconvenienced and clicked “skip intro” when presented with a splash page?

Many Web designers are keen to show off their creative talents, but perhaps it would be advisable for companies to search for developers who are able to understand their customers’ needs and produce solutions that will keep them
coming back.

Expensive choice

Tomos Livingstone was right to point out the unfairness of the student loan system (The Western Mail, June 17). However, the debt students are facing when graduating is not the end of the story.

At present, students from high-earning backgrounds are being subsidised by the student loans system as they are in a position to pay it back faster, leaving low-earning students facing mountains of interest fees.

The University Minister, Margaret Hodge, told Parliament in May that we should question whether there should be”state support for lifestyle choices” in which she said students spend an average pounds 25 a week on alcohol. However, the research of the NUS into the amount students have to spend on top-up fees and additional costs such as computers and books, perhaps demonstrates that this is a very expensive lifestyle choice.

If the only reason for not introducing grants is mistrust in students’ financial capabilities, perhaps the Government could provide a “free at the point of use” education system so students can study without the worry of whether they will be able to afford to reach the end of their course.

Website taps in to town history

The Llantrisant Town Trust officially launched its eagerly awaited website on Friday at Theatre Y Bont in Pontypridd.

The website, which has been developed by University of Glamorgan student Jonathan Bishop, promises to provide residents with access to the latest news, as well as historical information about the town. Internet users from all around the world can now search ancient records for family members, including the Freemen’s Roll – a list of names connected to the town’s tradition dating back to the 14th Century.
As Jonathan explains, the website is not just about finding ancestors, but locating existing family members as well.

“The Circle of Friends feature allows users of the site to store the names of family and friends they use online, so they can keep in contact with them and give distant relatives an opportunity to get in touch”.

Each person who registers on the site is given their own web page, which contains their family coat of arms and history. These pages can be modified so that they tell others more about them, including their interests and hobbies.

Llantrisant Parish Church has also been involved and forms an important part of the site. Users can find out about the history of the church and have access to information on services and events going on in the community.

Jonathan, who designed the website as part of his Multimedia Studies degree, believes that in the future nearly all towns will be on the Internet. “Llantrisant Online gives residents the opportunity to find out more about their area and debate local issues affecting their lives,” he said. “I don’t think it will be a long time before this method of coming together as a community will be commonplace.”

Llantrisant Online can be accessed using any internet-enabled PC or Digital television set by visiting

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