Hi, I am the Ciaoer formerly known as 'PJE' (Ciao added a flattened penis to the end of my username against my wishes.) These days I live on goodreads where I am user no. 949843 - feel free to say hello over there, or on Twitter (phillipjedwards).
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No gobbledegook - probably too simple for Simon
Cheap and cheerful, clear layout, plain English, good for net newcomers .
More experienced surfers will sneer at you for buying it .
Value for money
Quality of journalism
Quality of features
Quantity of advertising
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WebUser magazine is a new fortnightly publication. It describes itself as: "The NO-NONSENSE guide to the BEST of the net" currently at a trial price of 99p (expected to rise to £1.20 at some point)
It boasts a recommendation by the Plain English Society - so no unexplained gobbledegook.
WebUser's regular features appear to be:-
NEWS - 3 pages devoted to "what's happening on the world wide web"
BEST NEW WEB SITES - reviews of more than a dozen new or revamped sites, something of interest for everyone (probably) For example: Ken (cujimmy) might want to check out www.ifyougolf.com
NET CALENDAR - a web-site with some relevance to something that is happening for each day of the two weeks the mag is on the shelves. A nice idea. Simple and useful.
SHOPPING NEWS - a look at sites which offer bargains for shoppers.
SHOPPING CHALLENGE - here they "scour the net to find the best deals on a popular product" which they challenge readers to suggest.
CONSUMER CHAMPION - "if there's anything you want us to investigate..."
CONSUMER REPORT - ONLINE SHOPPING TEST - six ordinary people check out and compare the service of various shops' web-sites. With a brief guide to the consumer's legal rights.
SITE TEST - a comparison of various web-sites of a particular type. Like Ciao they award up to five stars plus they give gold, silver and bronze awards to the top three - which you'll probably disagree with!
HOW IT WORKS - one of my favourite features. In the first issue they explained how search engines work, with a bit of net-history thrown in. Only one page though, perhaps they should expand this.
NEW PRODUCTS ON TEST - new gizmos get the once over of their lives.
WORKSHOPS - this is a big feature of the mag. Step-by-step guides on how to do basic things (get rid of spam e-mail, build a simple web page, etc.) well illustrated with screen snapshots.
PROBLEM SOLVER - the usual thing - readers write in for help with their computer problems (mostly to do with Outlook Express of course!)
READERS HINTS AND TIPS - self explanatory. The best one wins £25. LETTERS - self-explanatory again, plus there's £25 for the Star Letter. (just remember my 10% commission if you win, ok?)
FOCUS - regular features on "your favourite subjects" (online games, WAP, mp3 and DIY web pages, apparently) with lots of sites to try out.
COLUMNS by Michael Hewitt and a guest celebrity. Last issue it was Alexei Sayle who is funny, but in issue two it's Paul Daniels who's a <expletive deleted>
50 USEFUL WEBSITES - does exactly what it says on the tin. No mention of Ciao here (yet) but then there isn't really a category for it. Someone should suggest one...
The full-page advertisements account for 27 of the 92 pages (34%) which seems fairly reasonable.
For web-novices and non-techies, WebUser is very good value. But having done so much of the 'sexy' stuff (car imports, search engines, PC speed test) in issue one, how long can they keep up the standard?
The second issue which is out now, also includes:-
A look at X-Files inspired web-sites; route-planning web-sites; an investigation of net access via your TV; online bookmakers; a guide to sites that help you trace long lost relatives or friends; (Hmmm, I wonder if I could trace my old pal Andy Thatcher and get my Crowded House CD back?) plus a Readers Survey with a prize of £500; and a competition with two PCs up for grabs.
The web-user companion web-site is at: http://www.web-user.co.uk
Status: New - In User Centred Web Design, usability expert John Cato outlines a design ... more
process that has a Web site visitor's needs in mind. He offers both theoretical discussions and real-world case studies. Although the illustrations in this compact book are small and not always well-printed, the insightful advice is clearly communicated and would be valuable to anyone setting out on the open sea of Web development. And, with its analyses of various corporate Web sites, User Centred Web Design addresses particularly important issues for those involved with e-business. This is not a software how-to book or a showcase of what's cutting-edge on the Web today. But it does inspire the sort of careful thinking found in Don Norman's The Psychology of Everyday Things. Throughout the book, Cato offers diagrams, paradigms, and to-do lists, the first being his looping description of one's relation to the world: Awareness > Understanding > Action. His model for designing is Discover > Design > Use. Discovery includes the vision, exploration, "the 'Ah ha' moment". Design is where it is all born, and Use involves market testing and verification. These are just a few of the theoretical game plans he offers. Cato uses case studies to show how one can make user profiles contribute to the design process. It feels very similar to learning good marketing skills in business school. The book also takes a careful look at the visual techniques used on many sites today, breaking down what works and what doesn't, even proposing alternatives. For example, is the user confused over whether something is a button? Cato writes, "Make it buttony, and employ mouseovers to give confirmatory feedback", and "Go for creative ways of grabbing attention; they do not have to be large things." You'll also learn how to push your creativity, get over your fears and believe in yourself (good all-around life advice). There's even a section that looks at design issues for Web-enabled cell phones. This book won't wow you with its visuals, but the ideas and inspiration within may help you wow others with your Web design. --Angelynn Grant