Top 10 Tips for Using the Web More Effectively
The Internet represents an important and rapidly growing medium of communication.
The biggest frustration that most people have with the Web, especially those new to the Web, is the amount of time and energy it takes to find useful information.
With over a billion active pages, there will never be enough time for you to take in all that the Web has to offer.
If you want to regularly use the Web and to benefit from what the Web has to offer, you have to be smart about how you use what time you have.
While there are no hard and fast rules about what strategy to use, at least some of the following common-sense tactics should help you to get more out of your Web experience.
- Find a working environment that works for you
Whether your computer is in the home or at the office, make sure you have a comfortable work area.
You should also take steps to minimize any distractions.
At work this may mean letting voice mail handle your calls or telling your coworkers to take their conversation elsewhere.
At home this may mean scheduling your Web use so it is not in the way of your home life.
- Have a purpose for every visit to the Web
The basic structure of most Web pages makes it very easy to get sidetracked.
In just a few clicks you could end up in a completely different part of the Web.
Sometimes you can take so many twists and turns that even the back button on the browser won’t get you back to where you started.
The simple way to avoid this problem is have a clear set of goals for every Web visit.
Once you have accomplished those goals, go do something else.
If your goal is to do work, stick to work-related subjects.
If you are out to have fun, don’t try to sneak in a little work.
- Set time limits on each Web session
Getting what you want from the Web gets easier over time.
You either figure out where the reliable sources of good information are or you become good at the techniques for finding new resources.
If you haven’t found it by the end of your self-imposed time limit, then it is either not on the Web or too well hidden for you to find.
In either case, once your time is up, move on to something else.
- Use search engines to find information fast
When you are looking for a particular Web site or looking for a site about a particular subject, search engines and directories are the easiest way to navigate around the Web.
All you do is type in a few keywords or key phrases, and the search engine will provide a range of pages that may satisfy your needs. Review Top 10 Tips for Finding Useful Information on the Web for details on using search engines and directories.
- Choose the right equipment and software
Take the time to find the hardware and software you need to get the job done and make sure that it all works together.
If you have the chance, test the component or the system you are considering to see if it is easy to use and meets your technical and ease of use requirements.
- Avoid bad Web sites
This may come as a complete shock, but most Web sites are not worth a second visit.
Usually, a quick scan of a few pages is all you need to tell if the site is worth your time.
If several of the following are true about a site, then you should avoid that site in the future:
- The site does not have a clear purpose.
- Information on the site is out of date.
- Other sites present the same information better.
- There are a lot of graphics and other elements that add nothing to the site.
- It is difficult to navigate around the site.
- The site contains many spelling and grammatical errors.
- Bookmark sites that are particularly useful or that you visit frequently
When you find a page or a site that is particularly useful, use your browser’s bookmarking capability to record the URL.
By using the bookmarking function, it is easy to organize your favorite links for quick access.
Review your browsers documentation to see how to bookmark a site.
- Turn your browser’s graphics capability off
The time it takes a browser to load a new page depends on the amount of data on that page.
Since graphics are often the largest part of any page, you can speed up loading time by setting up your browser so it does not load graphics.
Once you have found what you are looking for, you can change the settings back to normal.
This is an especially useful tactic if you are hunting through many sites during a search for information.
To learn how to turn off the graphics capability, consult your browser’s documentation or help files.
- Use links on a site to find related information
In addition to using search engines, you can also use the links on one site to find other worthy sites.
If a site is well designed and meets your information needs, it probably has links to related information on similar sites.
- Find potentially useful sites from newspaper and magazine articles
Newspapers and magazines are increasingly referring to Web sites either as sources for a story or as sources of related information. If the magazine or newspaper is one that you trust, then the staff has probably reviewed the site.
Dr. Todd Curtis is the director of the AirSafe.com Foundation and an expert on the role using the Internet to educate the public about risk. This article was taken from his new book, Parenting and the Internet (Speedbrake Publishing, 2007). For more information, visit www.speedbrake.com.
Source: Parenting and the Internet