Detect and Remove Spyware

Detect and Remove Spyware

by: Mitch Johnson

The increasingly common computer and internet threat known as spyware is designed to gather information about personal and business computer users. The private information spyware is capable of obtaining about you can include your click stream, usage habits, passwords, credit card number and social security information. It is almost guaranteed that all PC computers have been infected with spyware.

A spyware infection is not primarily intended to alter a computer’s function but as a ขside effectข your computer will begin malfunctioning in obvious ways when some types of spyware invade. Possible signs include continuous pop ups, browser crashes and unauthorized start page changes. Users who have downloaded music and game programs are likely to have been infected as well as those who use shareware and/or freeware.

To clear your computer of malicious spyware computer users must download or purchase one of the many spyware scan tools. Proven and effective spyware tools can scan your computer and catch spyware, adware, keyloggers, dialers, Trojans, malware and more. Once the infected files are identified the spyware scan tools can safely remove them while keeping a back up of the file in case restoration is needed later. Spybot Search and Destory has become one of the most advanced and used free spyware scanning tools. Spy Doctor can be purchased and begin actively protecting against future spyware infections.

You computer should be scanned for spyware infections on a regular basis so as to avoid serious problems that could arise from deep infection. Nearly any of the many antispyware programs include free updates that will bring the program’s database of spyware definitions to the latest known for ultimate computer protection. Finding and using a good antispyware tool will help protect your private information from being snatched and used against you. Spyware removal tools will also stop annoying and intrusive advertisements from interrupting your internet activity.

About The Author

Mitch Johnson is a successful freelance author that writes regularly for http://www.spywareremovalmadeeasy.com/, a site that focuses exclusively on spyware removal software, as well as tips on how to prevent spyware from popping up on your computer. This site articles on has spyware guard, http://www.spywareremovalmadeeasy.com/spyware_guard.htm as well as spyware scanner, http://www.spywareremovalmadeeasy.com/spyware_scanner.htm

rehan_articles@yahoo.com

This article was posted on August 02

by Mitch Johnson

What is Gmail?

What is Gmail?

by: Jakob Jelling

Like most other prime search engines, the ability to freely giveaway an email account is a positive tool that signals to the user community that this search engine is here to stay! Google is no different in this approach. Recently, Google has been beta testing Gmail. Google’s very own email services repository. Best of all, it’s free! Well, it’s going to be free, its currently available only in Beta mode, if you are lucky enough to have received an invitation to sign up for a complimentary account you currently enjoy the benefits of ubiquitous Gmail.

Found at gmail.google.com, users were at a frenzied pace to secure the names and aliases that may be snatched up once the floodgates were open. People are exclusively invited to partake in the beta testing were selling their names and invitations for quite a handsome sum on eBay. Most users will have to wait until Gmail goes live before actually trying it out. However with all the functionality at a price like this, how could anyone refuse?

Unlike MSN and Yahoo! Google’s approach to space was a little more liberal. Google provides 1000 MB of storage space so you would never have to worry about limited space requirements. All messages are displayed intact as well as the replies. Messages can be searched upon as well. Google’s approach was to give as much flexibility to the user so the user in turn would use only Google.

Much like the antipop up ad theory of The Google Toolbar, there will be an antiSpam product built into Gmail that will help thwart out unsolicited email.

Currently, new users can ask for a preview address from Google, although there is no guarantee they will get one. Interested parties should go to http://gmail.google.com/gmail/help/about.html and fill in their email addresses at the bottom of the page.

About The Author

Jakob Jelling is the founder of http://www.sitetube.com. Visit his website for the latest on planning, building, promoting and maintaining websites.

This article was posted on August 23, 2004

by Jakob Jelling

Benefits to RSS

Benefits to RSS

by: Sharon Housley

RSS streamlines communication between publishers and readers. Since RSS has had a popularity surge, webmasters have been experimenting and using RSS feeds to deliver content in new and innovative ways. Typically, RSS feeds contain news headlines and content summaries. The content summaries contain just enough information without overwhelming the reader with superfluous details. If the reader is interested and wants additional information they can click on the item in the feed, accessing the website which contains additional details. RSS readers aggregate multiple feeds, making it easy for individuals to quickly scan information contained within each feed. Feeds are generally themed, allowing users to optin to feeds that are of interest.

The big benefit to RSS is that individuals optin to content of interest, totally controlling the flow of information that they receive. If the quality of the content in the feed declines, users simply remove the feed from their RSS reader and they will not receive any additional updates from that source. The RSS reader acts as an aggregator, allowing users to view and scan multiple content streams in a timely fashion.

RSS is a great supplemental communication method that does not burden the publisher with maintaining lists or following strict privacy guidelines. RSS feeds are compiled according to the userกs choices, removing any burden that is placed on publishers of email newsletters. Publishers no longer need to be concerned with spam, privacy policies, and age guidelines.

Publishers using RSS as a communication vehicle are able to create keywordrich, themed content, establishing trust, reputation, and ongoing communication with current and prospective customers.

What Kind of Information Can be Delivered in RSS Feeds?

Blogs Feed

Many blogs are catalogued in an RSS feed, with each blog entry summarized as a feed item. This makes it easy for visitors to scan blog posts for items of interest.

Article Feed

Articles are often placed into feeds to alert readers when new articles and content are available. The feed entry is typically an article summary or introduction. Readers can then ascertain if the article is of interest and read further.

Forum Feed

Many forums now have addons that allow participants to receive forum posts via RSS. The RSS feeds often will show the latest discussion topics; if users are interested they simply click to enter the forum to participate in the discussion. As the topic is updated they will see new entries in the RSS feed.

Schedule Feed

Schools, clubs and organizations will often use feeds to communicate meeting times, places and events that might be occurring. The RSS feeds are often used to publicize events, notify the community of schedule changes or meeting agendas.

Discounts / Specials Feed

Retail and online stores have begun using RSS feeds to deliver their latest specials and discounted offers. Some online retailers have taken this a step further, allowing users to create their own feeds based on keywords or phrases.

For example, this service will generate a URL than can be entered into a news reader. The feed is updated each time an item is added to Amazon that meets the specified criteria or keywords Amazon Search Feed http://www.oxus.net/amazon/

Ego / News Monitoring

Companies or individuals interested in receiving headline news based on a specific brand or keyword can use RSS feeds to monitor news sources.

For example, users can use the following tool to create a feed that will allow them to receive filtered news from Google News. They will only receive items related to a specific keyword or phrase they setup http://www.justinpfister.com/gnewsfeed.php

IndustrySpecific RSS Feed Uses Include:

Technical professionals in specific industries have also developed RSS feeds as way to market, promote or communicate within their specific industries. In many cases, this has expanded their reach and increased communication with current and prospective customers and clients.

RSS feeds can be used by realtors to communicate the time and location for open houses, announce new property listings or promote decreased mortgage rates. Content feeds can also be used by universities to communicate sports scores or event schedules. Computer service professionals can create feeds to notify clients of potential security breaches, virus risks or outbreaks. Ultimately, RSS is molded to meet the communication needs of many sectors. Consider how RSS can benefit your business and supplement your communication needs.

RSS feed creation tool for publishers interested in creating fresh content FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com.

About The Author

Sharon Housley manages marketing for NotePage, Inc. http://www.notepage.net and FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com.

This article was posted on December 08, 2004

by Sharon Housley

Domain Names

Domain Names

by: Clare Lawrence

Domain names are relatively straightforward! Or at least that’s the theory!!

The domain name is also, but technically not quiet correct, known as the website address.

Using an ISP’s domain name can look amateurish in an email addresses, it is much more so with websites, giving the impression of hanging on another’s coat tails. The only exception being when a firm wants to reinforce a local or professional affiliation by appearing as part of an existing site dedicated to a region or association. Even in such cases autonomy and continuity are better assured by having one’s own domain and merely using a page on the third party’s site to point users toward it.

Domains are classified according to their endings or ขsuffixesข. As a commercial organisation a company will almost certainly want a domain ending in .com or .co.uk. Other endings such as .biz and .ltd.uk are at least to date, insufficiently familiar to users, meaning the name can be too readily misremembered. Of the two desirable suffixes, .com is preferable for business with international activities, and arguably gives the impression of a bigger organisation, whilst .co.uk helps reassure users on the largely Americandominated web that they are indeed dealing with a UK firm.

The part of the domain name before the suffix will usually by the firms trading name, provided of course that the domain name has not already been registered, (which is increasingly likely these days). If the name is very long an abbreviation may be considered. Domain names are not case sensitive.

The actual registration of a domain name is a straightforward process that can be done online, either through your ISP or better still through a dedicated registration service company such as Discount Domains Ltd (http://www.discountdomainsuk.com). Renewal fees must be paid, typically every two years.

Checking if a domain name is freely available is very straightforward as most domain registration services provide a WHOIS service, as the name suggest, this checks the ownership details of a domain, note however that such services normally run 48 hours behind actual registrations.

Moving ISP’s can save money, however it may take time and incur extra charges. Pricing in the domain name registration industry have fallen considerably over recent years and a domain name typically now costs from $15 for two years registration.

Once your domain name is registered, you can either leave the domain name ขparkedข awaiting future use, or point it at a website, this is usually achieved by changing the Domain Name Server, or DNS settings on the domain to point at hosting company where your website is located. Almost all registration services offer a free user control panel to change these settings.

Web hosting is the provision of space on a web server to publish a web site. There are numerous hosting companies in the market, and most domain registration services also offer a hosting solution. Prices vary but $100 per annum should be sufficient for most business needs.

By Clare Lawrence 11th May 2004

About The Author

Clare Lawrence is CEO of Discount Domains Ltd – A leading UK provider of Domain name registration and Web Hosting services. Please feel free to republish this article provided this reference box remains together with a hyperlink to http://www.discountdomainsuk.com Clare can also be contacted on clare@discountdomainsuk.com.

This article was posted on September 24, 2004

by Clare Lawrence

Nextgen BitDefender Solution Adds Heuristic Spam

Nextgen BitDefender Solution Adds Heuristic Spam Filters

by: Roxana Danaila

BitDefender 8 SpamDeny, the new antispam solution for Windows workstations launched today is an advanced email protection tool which features updated, as well as new filters. ขI’m very satisfied with how this version has turned out, because internal testing has shown an improvement of over 35% in detection rates, over the previous version. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our users and testers, as we wouldn’t have had such a great product without their hard work, input and feedback,ข said Nicolae Simon, BitDefender Product Marketing Manager.

The new rules of the updated Heuristic filter will dutifully trash some new scam spam types, such as Nigerian scams, online casino scams, lottery scams and fake university diploma offers, while further reducing the number of false positives.

Additionally, new filters have been included, such as the Image filter, which is able to recognize and tag images frequently used in spam email, the URL filter which blocks mail containing กsneakyก links, and the Charset filter, which will block any email written in กstrangeก characters.

Various bells and whistles, such as configuration wizards, better ways to manage your friends list, and a handy fix that will disable incoming mail notifications for spam email, so that Outlook will only signal when legitimate email arrives, complete the package.

The product is available for evaluation and purchasing as of today, and is priced at USD 19.95 for a single user license. BitDefender AntiSpam 7.2 users can, obviously, upgrade to BitDefender 8 SpamDeny free of charge.

About The Author

BitDefender™ provides security solutions to satisfy the protection requirements of todayกs computing environment, delivering effective threat management for over 38 million home and corporate users in more than 100 countries. BitDefender(tm) Antivirus is certified by all the major independent reviewers in the antivirus field ICSA Labs, CheckMark and Virus Bulletin.

Website: http://www.bitdefender.com

This article was posted on January 14

by Roxana Danaila

Purchasing Spyware Software—Avoid the Scams

Purchasing Spyware Software—Avoid the Scams

by: Mitch Johnson

With the demand for antispyware tools continuously on the rise because of the constant release of new and more invasive spyware scams, computer users may find themselves falling victim to malicious software downloads while searching for the right spyware removal tool. Several spyware removal software programs have been identified as fakes, but not before many computer users were drawn into the trap.

Spyware Assassin claimed to be a spyware removal tool released by MaxTheater but underneath the claims to remove malicious spyware, the program was found to be a fake. The tool offered users a free scan that of course detected spyware, whether it was there or not because there was actually no real scan taking place. Once the results from the scam scan were presented to the user it was advised that they immediately purchase the entire program to rid their computer of the malicious ขspyware.ข Recently, however, the Federal Trade Commission uncovered their scam to make money off of false spyware tools.

An even sneakier spyware scam was put on by Seismic Entertainment Productions who used tactics to infect user’s computers with actual spyware and then advised those users to purchase Spy Wiper or Spy Deleter to remove the spyware. Any of these fake software programs are obvious reasons why computer users must learn to research the credibility and background of a program before purchasing or downloading.

If a company bombards you with aggressive advertising for their product or pushes you to take immediate action by offering scare tactics, it is best for users to steer clear of that product. Any company, especially new or young companies that claim perfect results or all around protection is something to look at with caution. No spyware tool can offer users complete protection and any one that claims they can is using irresponsible advertising.

Computer users should also remember not to purchase or download a spyware program based on their name. The name is not a depiction of what the product offer.

When searching for a legitimate spyware tool spend time researching the program and company’s background and avoid believing everything the advertisements tell you.

About The Author

Mitch Johnson is a successful freelance author that writes regularly for http://www.spywareremovalmadeeasy.com/, a site that focuses exclusively on spyware removal software, as well as tips on how to prevent spyware from popping up on your computer. This site articles on has spyware guard, http://www.spywareremovalmadeeasy.com/spyware_guard.htm as well as spyware scanner, http://www.spywareremovalmadeeasy.com/spyware_scanner.htm.

rehan_articles@yahoo.com

This article was posted on August 12

by Mitch Johnson

Googleopoly: The Motivation Behind Gmail

Googleopoly: The Motivation Behind Gmail

by: Mark Daoust

Just before the close of business on Wednesday, Google announced that it will be launching Gmail, its new free email service set to offer 1000 megabytes of free space to its users. This announcement comes after a flurry of changes at Google, all of which are geared to securing their place as the dominant search engine in light of recent competition offered by Yahoo! and soon MSN. The search engine wars have been predicted for some time now by search engine insiders, and the launch of Gmail is Google’s attempt to win the war before it gets fully started. But is Google really ready to take on the big portals?

It is very unlikely that Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page had any idea exactly how big their original search engine (then called BackRub) would actually become. Google was an innocent project through Standford University. It was a project started in the days of optimism about a free Internet not supported by ads or corporate revenues, but rather the free exchange of ideas. As a result, they focused solely on product. There were no worries about creating a flashy interface, hiring a sharp marketing team, or launching an IPO. They were worried about good search results. The result is that Google is now synonymous with searching the Internet.

Today, Google stands with a much different outlook. The success of the launch of AdWords propelled Google into a class all their own. Almost overnight, Google entered the PPC industry and dethroned Overture as the untouchable kings of PPC. Although other search engines such as Lycos, FindWhat, Kanoodle, and Sprinks had been competing with Overture, none of these engines were able to bring the reach and brand power of Google.

The success of AdWords was a notice to every other Internet giant. Companies such as Yahoo! and AOL – who were providing Google’s results to their users – took notice to the fact that Google had an incredible influence on the Internet, and if they desired, they could leverage that influence into a variety of new markets. Worse yet, Yahoo! and AOL helped Google gain such influence by providing Google results to their users. These giants became nervous, and with good reason. Google started to show signs that they were expanding into new markets. Dictionaries, glossaries, news services, Froogle, Catalog search, maps, blogging, and other services were all emerging from the Google labs and news rooms. If Google was able to instantaneously compete and lead in the highly competitive PPC market, what would happen if they moved in on the territory of Yahoo!, AOL, or MSN? These Internet giants helped make Google powerful, possibly more powerful than they were themselves.

The battle for web searches had begun. Yahoo! has taken the most notable steps by replacing their results provided by Google with their newly acquired Inktomi division based results. To fight Google on the advertising revenue level, Yahoo swooped up Overture, still allstar in the paid search market. Overture, now playing catchup in an industry which they practically founded, launched their own site content match system which rivals Google AdWords.

MSN has vowed to refine their search algorithms to become more relevant. Most of the work being done by MSN has been fairly quiet, but rest assured, there will be a lot of talk about MSN search when they are ready to release their new product to the Internet. And, with every new PC you buy, don’t be surprised if it comes with a host of web searching tools built in.

There have even been rumors over at AOL that they are going to be abandoning their Google based results. The fact is, AOL is scared of Google. As it stands right now, Froogle already steps on their shopping market, and Google News is taking away from AOL’s news delivery service.

By abandoning Google provided results, these Internet giants are attempting to limit Google’s reach. The fact is simple: users still use Yahoo!, MSN, and AOL. They use these services because they offer a host of unique information, updated news, financial reports, maps, phone directories, etc. Most importantly, users visit MSN, Yahoo, and AOL for their free email. While they have these users attention, Yahoo! and MSN will now try to sell these users on their new and improved search results not provided by Google in order to steal a bit of that search engine market.

Just as Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN realized how powerful Google was in the search engine market (and subsequently the danger that posed to them), Google is realizing the real threat that these portals present. If these portals are able to offer suitable search results, users will have less reason to utilize Google’s search. Google has also recognized the main advantage these portals have: free email. Free email is what makes Yahoo! and MSN such popular destinations. People who have email accounts at these locations find themselves visiting these sites multiple times every day just to check their email. While they are there, they have the opportunity to be grabbed by a headline or service offered through these portals. The free email is what brings the users back time and again.

Gmail is a direct attempt by Google to destroy any competition before it arises. With 10 times the amount of storage and what appears to be a superior interface for viewing and organizing mail messages, Gmail is not simply a nice thing to offer to web surfers. Gmail is an attempt to put an arrow through the heart of Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail. The services will not be comparable in quality, and that is the way Google wants it. The goal of Gmail is to make Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail look like laughable solutions to web based email.

If Gmail is successful in converting Yahoo! Mail users and Hotmail users, the search engine wars will most likely be much ado about nothing. The battle and war will be won, and the victor will be Google. But don’t expect MSN, AOL, or Yahoo! to simply watch Gmail launch without developing a plan to strike back hard. Yahoo! alone has invested incredible amounts of money to acquire Inktomi and Overture just so they can compete head to head with Google. It would be uncharacteristic of them to simply fold. And do not forget about the power MSN has with their search. Remember that Microsoft controls what search engine is used by default on most every computer around the world. That is a competitive advantage that Google will have a very hard time overcoming.

Gmail will not be the last new service offered by Google. It certainly will not go unanswered by Yahoo! or another portal. It will, however, mark a fundamental point in this search engine war that appears to now be in full swing.

Copyright 2004 Mark Daoust

About The Author

Mark Daoust is the owner of SiteReference.com (http://www.sitereference.com) and TowerSearch (http://www.towersearch.com). Signup for a free TowerSearch account and receive guaranteed top rankings for all of your chosen keywords.

This article was posted on April 06, 2004

by Mark Daoust

Print Shop Deluxe Empowering Users To Do Publishin

Print Shop Deluxe Empowering Users To Do Publishing

by: Grannyกs Mettle

Professional and businesslooking cards have become so tedious that I have been trying to get other programs to help me create cards and albums without feeling that itกs a lot of work for me.

Broderbundกs ‘the Print Shopก has been doing that for its clients, particularly users who need a quick, easy and affordable way to do basic publishing activities.

Now comes another version of the popular Print Shop program that lets you design or adapt over 11,000 templates of everything from greeting cards and photo albums, to signs, banners, and even calendars.

The Print Shop Deluxe 12.0 is for kids, as well as for those kidsatheart, who love the idea of churning out fun projects. Aside from turning regular banners and greeting cards into great works that ensures attraction, the newest edition of the 16yearold printing and desktop publishing program includes a photo editor and tools that can help users produce simple paper products from menus to other marketing products. It also has easytouse interface, and a great online support.

Print Shop 12.0 is easy to use, never mind that the program has six CDs of clip art. One review even stated that you might need to find enough drive space for the whole กmonster programก. The review even said that even if one should stick with the minimum installation option, the program still needs 670MB of drive space. On the other hand, if one should decide to just keep the extra clip art CDs handy, swapping them every time you need an image may be a timeconsuming alternative.

But as Iกve said earlier, never mind the number of CDs. The huge collection of clip art and images will blow your mind. With more than 134,000 images and 11,000 layout templates, youกll have more than enough for the next decade of publishing, I think.

With its easytouse interface, the program is definitely simple and functional. Print Shop 12.0 has menus with scores of commands and toolbars easy enough to manipulate. One artist even boasts of its large open space in the center of all those icons and toolbars the better to design your work.

The program also boasts of 5,000 more templates than the previous version. Just choose a template from one of the many categories, do the easy instructions, then customize the text and art and your on your way to creating your very own greeting card, or banner, or whatever marketing material you need at the moment.

The new Color Set Creator also helps users change the Color Set on the background. With just one click, users can try different colors for their project.

With a userfriendly manual, even a kid can handle its features. The programกs help file is complete and clear.

About The Author

Grannyกs Mettle is a 30something, professional web content writer. She has created various web content on a diverse range of topics, which includes digital printing topics, medical news, as well as legal issues. Her articles are composed of reviews, suggestions, tips and more for the printing and designing industry.

Her thoughts on writing: กWriting gives me pleasure… pleasure and excitement that you have created something to share with others. And with the wide world of the Internet, it gives me great satisfaction that my articles reach more people in the quickest time you could imagine.ก

On her spare time, she loves to stay at home, reading books on just about any topic she fancies, cooking a great meal, and taking care of her husband and kids.

For comments and inquiries about the article visit http://www.ucreative.com

articles@ucreative.com

This article was posted on March 03

by Grannyกs Mettle

The Secret Benefit Of Accessibility Part 1: Increa

The Secret Benefit Of Accessibility Part 1: Increased Usability

by: Trenton Moss

Web accessibility has so many benefits that I really do wonder why such a large number of websites have such diabolically bad accessibility. One of the main benefits is increased usability, which according to usability guru, Jakob Nielson, can increase the sales/conversion rate of a website by 100% and traffic by 150%.

At which point you must surely be asking, ขSo if I make my website accessible its usability will increase and Iกll make more money out of it?ข. Well, not quite. An accessible website is not automatically more usable but there are many areas of overlap:

1. Descriptive link text

Visually impaired web users can scan web pages by tabbing from link to link and listening to the content of the link text. As such, the link text in an accessible website must always be descriptive of its destination.

Equally, regularly sighted web users don’t read web pages wordforword, but scan them looking for the information they’re after.

Link text such as กClick hereก has poor accessibility and usability as both regularly sighted and visually impaired web users scanning

the paragraph will take no meaning from this link text by itself. Link text that effectively describes its destination is far easier to scan and you can understand the destination of the link without having to read its surrounding words.

2. Prompt text assigned to form input

In order to make forms accessible we need to assign the prompt text to its form item. THis is especially useful when done with checkboxes and radioboxes, as the text becomes clickable too. Checkboxes and radioboxes are small and pernickety for even the steadiest of hands so by increasing the clickable region everyone benefits.

3. Large chunks of information divided up

There are a number of techniques that can be taken to increase the usability for visually impaired users, who have to listen to the information on each page and try to remember it. By structuring information into small, manageable groups, enhanced usability for these users can be achieved.

Methods to accomplish this can include using subheadings to break up body content, grouping form items with the fieldset command and using lists. Breaking down groups of information is obviously highly useful for sighted web users too, as it greatly enhances our ability to scan the screen quickly.

4. Site map provided

Site maps can be a useful accessibility tool for visually impaired users as they provide a straightforward list of links to the main pages on the site, without any of the fluff in between. Site maps are of course useful for everyone as they provide us with a way of finding pages quickly and help us visualise the structure of the website.

5. Simple and easy language

>From an accessibility point of view, this oneกs important for people with reading and/or cognitive disabilities and site visitors whoกs first language isn’t the one you’re writing in. From a usability point of view, well, it helps everyone. Reading from computer screens is tiring for the eyes and about 25% slower than reading from paper. As such, the easier the style of writing the easier it is for site visitors to absorb your words of wisdom. Wherever possible shorten your sentences. Use, ‘apply’ instead of ‘make an application’ or ‘use’ instead of ‘make use of’.

6. Consistent navigation

Having consistent navigation across pages is also important for maximising accessibility to people with reading and/or cognitive disabilities, but again everyone benefits. Each time you visit a new website it takes you a few seconds to adjust to the unique layout and user interface of that page. Well imagine if you had to do that every time you follow a link to a new page!

By having a consistent interface across a website we can instantly locate the navigation and page content without having to look around for it. In reality, most sites do have consistent navigation across most pages. The main culprit for falling foul of this guideline is the homepage, which some websites structure quite differently to the rest of the site. By having a consistent interface across the entire website we can instantly locate the page content without having to look around for it.

7. No unannounced popups

For web users utilising screen readers popups can be a real accessibility nuisance. Screen readers read out the content of whichever window is on top of the others. Popups display over the top of the main website so will always be read out first. For visually impaired users this can be frustrating as they may not realise that what they’re hearing isn’t the ‘real’ website.

So, popups are bad for accessibility. As for usability, well Iกm sure you hate popups as much as I do. Many toolbars, such as the Google toolbar, now come packaged with a popup blocker so allow you to surf the web without the irritation of new windows popping up.

8. CSS used for layout

CSSbased sites are generally have a greater ratio of content to HTML code so are more accessible to screen readers and search engines. Websites using CSS for layout can also be made accessible to incar browsers, WebTV and PDAs. Don’t underestimate the importance of this in 2008 alone thereกll be an estimated 58 million PDAs sold worldwide (source: http://www.etforecasts.com/pr/pr0603.htm).

As well as improved accessibility, CSSbased websites have one large usability benefit: increased download speed. Broadband isn’t as widespread as you may think. In the UK for example, just one in four web users are hooked up to broadband (source: http://www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/intc0504.pdf) so improving the download speed of your web pages could provide a great usability advantage over your competitors.

9. Transcripts available for audio

One group of web users with special accessibility needs that doesn’t get much press is hearing impaired users, who need written equivalents for audio content. Providing transcripts is in fact highly beneficial to all users. Many of your site visitors probably can’t be bothered to wait for your 3Mb audio file to download and start playing. They may prefer just a quick outline of whatกs contained in the audio content.

By providing a transcript, broken up by subheadings and with the key terms highlighted, nondisabled site visitors can skim through it and get a general idea of the content. They can then make a more informed decision about if they want to wait for the 3Mb audio file to download.

10. Screen flickering and movement avoided

Some epileptic web users must be careful to avoid screen flicker of between 2 and 55 Hz. Web users with reading and/or cognitive disabilities and those using screen magnifiers will struggle to keep up with scrolling text (if you do have scrolling text be sure to provide a mechanism to stop it).

In addition to being a bad idea for accessibility, neither flickering nor scrolling text are good for usability either. The former can be distracting when you’re trying to read something and you see flashing out the corner of your eye; the latter isn’t good either as you have to wait for the content to slowly appear. When you see scrolling text do you usually bother to stop what you’re doing so you can read it as it gradually materialises? Or do you ignore it?

The other disadvantage of scrolling or changing text is that you might see something you want to click on, but before you know it itกs gone. And now you have to wait 30 seconds for it to reappear again!

Conclusion

With all this overlap between web usability and web accessibility thereกs no excuses for not implementing basic accessibility on to your website. Outside of the ethical argument there are many reasons to make your website accessible, one of the main one being that its usability will be improved. No one can argue with that.

About The Author

This article was written by Trenton Moss. Heกs crazy about web usability and accessibility so crazy that he went and started his own web usability and accessibility consultancy ( Webcredible http://www.webcredible.co.uk ) to help make the Internet a better place for everyone.

This article was posted on December 08, 2004

by Trenton Moss

TurboScout.com Makes Web Searching 20 Times Faster

TurboScout.com Makes Web Searching 20 Times Faster

by: William Chee

A 21 yearold undergraduate from Singapore launched TurboScout.com, a new search tool that helps Internet users to access and compare original results from over 90 search engines across 7 categories on a single web page, removing the hassle of retyping keywords into different search engines.

Comparing results from different search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN Search, and Ask Jeeves is a common practice for many users. This is because different engines use different ranking methods and thus no single engine can give users exactly what they’re looking for.

ขThat’s where TurboScout.com comes in handy.ข Says William Chee, founder of TurboScout.com. ขGrown out of the frustration of typing and retyping keywords into different search engines, I decided to create an online search tool to get rid of these hassles and make such searching 20 times faster.ข

ขUsers who visit http://www.turboscout.com only need to enter keywords once, and getting original results from different search engines is as simple as clicking the engine’s name. No more retyping keywords into different search engines.ข

Search engine marketing firms also find TurboScout.com an invaluable tool for search engine optimization and finding out the rankings of their clients’ web sites in different engines.

Users who set their browser home page to their favorite site can even customize TurboScout.com to load together with their favorite web site. This way, users can have all the benefits of TurboScout.com and access to their favorite site at the same time.

In addition to web page search, TurboScout.com also helps users to find images, search encyclopedias, check out latest news, look for interesting blogs, find songs and videos, and even compare prices from major online retailers and auction sites.

With a growing number of users who search online, TurboScout.com is slated to become the preferred timesaving search tool for many across the globe.

About The Author

William Chee

TurboScout.com

Phone: +6591015673

Website: http://www.turboscout.com

Email: info@turboscout.com

This article was posted on February 12

by William Chee

Searches and Summaries

Searches and Summaries

by: Ron Tower

The Web is constantly growing and changing. The key issue for users of the Web is to know what is there that might help them, or inform them, or entertain them, and to find out in a timely fashion without spending all their time looking. There are two main ways to do this, searches and summaries.

The most common way that users today find the information they want on the Web is by doing a search using one of the many search engines such a Google (www.google.com). You enter keywords and the search engine sorts through all the pages that it has indexed and tries to give you the most relevant results. Even with this a search often returns thousands of hits. Also, since new pages are being added every day and many pages are constantly changing to reflect the current news or information, the search results may change over time. And slight changes in the keywords can also result in very different search results. Even with these limitations though, searches often provide the quickest and easiest way to find what you want.

If you think of the Web as one huge, constantly changing book, search is like looking up words in an index and then going to the pages indicated to see if they contain what you are looking for. Another way we find what we want in books is the table of contents. This provides a summary outline of what is in the book. It is hard to imagine a table of contents for the whole Web though. For one thing, the Web is different than a book in that the pages are not intended to be read in sequence. You enter and leave pages on the Web following links.

But there is something like a table of contents for the Web in that it organizes the Webกs contents into a high level summary view, and that is a Web directory. Yahoo provides one of the oldest of these (http://dir.yahoo.com) and there is a public domain Web directory that is available many places including the Google Directory (http://www.google.com/dirhp). A directory is a hierarchy of knowledge categories or subjects with links and descriptions provided under the categories. The general directories are huge themselves, so in turn it is useful to search them.

A variation on this is a personal Web directory or knowledge base. This has the same structure as these large public directories but is more focused on the particular interests of a person or group. Whole subtrees of the personal Web directory can be shared with others. A rather limited version of this is the bookmarks or favorites that we keep in our Web browsers, but the personal Web directory allows for better visualization of the information and adding more related information.

Another type of summary that is becoming very widely used is RSS feeds. These are a list of headlines with summary descriptions. The user can then click on a link to see the details. This is especially useful for sites such as news sites or Web logs where information is changing frequently. But they are by no means limited to that. Individual users can read just the feeds they are interested in using an RSS reader (http://blogspace.com/rss/readers). Web site owners provide these useful summaries in hopes that people will want to see the details and click through to their site.

Another variation on this theme of providing useful summary content in hope that users will click through is the proliferation of free content that can be added to Web sites. For example, a weather site might provide a weather sticker that shows a summary of the weather in a town. This is useful in itself. The users then may be more likely to click through to see details. Much of this is intended for Web site developers (for example, see http://freesticky.com), but it could also be used by individual users with the appropriate tool.

Another useful form of summary is a personal portal such as My Yahoo (http://my.yahoo.com) or My Way (http://my.myway.com). These allow the user to select from a collection of information modules and arrange them in different ways on a page that they can view to get a summary view. These portals are typically restricted to the specific content modules that they provide and are oriented toward a generic audience.

One more form of summary is an alert or vital sign. These provide timely notifications, perhaps using an icon that changes colors, of an important event. This approach has been used for years for network and operations management and is now starting to come into use for individuals.

These examples of summaries all fall within a category of tools called information aggregators. Information aggregators provide a summary view of what information is available and allow the user to go to the information source for the details. At this point these different types of summary tools are not usually well integrated.

The next generation of information aggregators will support much greater integration, a wider variety of information modules, and narrowcasting to more specific information communities. For example, see Personal Watchkeeper (http://www.sugarloafsw.com).

So the two most important tools for getting the most out of the Web are search engines and information aggregators. These provide searches and summaries, which are really the way we have always tried to make the best use of large collections of information. Search engines are well developed and widely used. Information aggregators are coming on fast.

About The Author

Ron Tower is the President of Sugarloaf Software and is the developer of Personal Watchkeeper, an information aggregator supporting a variety of ways to summarize the Web.

http://www.sugarloafsw.com

This article was posted on December 02, 2004

by Ron Tower