What's a website?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Martin's Blogs & Appearances & MoneySavingExpert in the News
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This is the discussion to link on the back of Martin's 'How do you describe a website to someone who’s never used it?' blog. Please read the blog first, as this discussion follows it.


Click reply to discuss below. :)
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  • I went for the very simplified version when I first was tasked with explaining the net to my nanna: basically people type information into their computers (showed her microsoft word where I could type something and save it) and you save it so other people can look up that information on their computers: the internet is like a giant encyclopaedia - you can find out pretty much anything you want! So in Martin's case he types in the specialist money-saving info he comes across (well, not always him personally!), and people who want to see it can look on their computers and see it.:j

    This was back in the days of dial-up so it was fairly easy to explain that the information was transmitted through phone lines, as she understood the concept of faxes etc. Slightly harder to explain now we have broadband, particularly as it's wireless - haven't had to tackle that explanation yet!:rolleyes:
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  • Badger_LadyBadger_Lady Forumite
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    A website is a book that you can use on your computer and share with anybody else in the world.

    It might have words, pictures... references to other "books". Sometimes you can tell the "book" what you're looking for, and it will find it for you. And it might have some forms you can fill in and send without having to use Royal Mail.

    You can use the forms to speak to other people who are using the same "book". Other forms will allow you to buy things (a bit like Mail Order), or to make requests.

    The "book" can also recognise its readers - it can remember you and say "hello" when you open it. It will know how many people are reading it and how many people have read it before.

    And the author can change his "book" whenever he likes. He doesn't need to publish a new edition or even tell you what he's done - it will just be a bit different the next time you open it.
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  • KatgoddessKatgoddess Forumite
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    Can she use teletext? My technophobic mother knows that it is similar and I can look up information for her.
  • My explanation for my mum, was that the
  • Apologies for my previous post, this is my first try, and I seemed to have pressed something by accident, and posted my beginnings by accident!

    I tried to compare it to something with which she was very familiar.

    It is like going in to a large Shopping Centre, without having to wear your legs out! It has lots of different shops.

    Each shop is used to many visitors who just browse, and may buy something or not on their visit.

    This Shopping Centre has a very comprehensive help desk, as well as the Public Library, Art Galleries etc. The BBC even has a unit!

    In this shopping centre, (the World Wide Web) each shop or unit is called a website, and by visiting it, you are simply window-shopping, or, if you chose, browsing inside.

    Many people use this WWW Shopping Centre without ever spending any money, as most units allow you to browse and research for nothing.

    My Mum found this helpful enough to get her over the fear of diving in, and I am presently trying to encourage her to 'Get in the car' (use her computer) more often, and visit more often!
  • arisaris Forumite
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    I work in IT and my mom doesn't really understand what I do. She just tells people "he works with computers". For her circle of friends, that is usually enough of an explanation. :A
  • I find with older/technophobic people it helps to show them websites related to something they might be familiar with first - like their local/favourite newspaper, or the BBC website. Google's also a good website to begin to explain with because of it's simple design - unlike moneysavingexpert.com, which is full of information (a good thing) but if you're not used to it could be a bit daunting and difficult to know where to start.

    The wireless is easy to explain - it works on the same principles as radio waves do, and remember it's only being transmitted from your router - any further afield and it is all hard-wired anyway.

    I like the shopping centre and the encyclopaedia idea!
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  • StrappedStrapped Forumite
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    aris wrote: »
    I work in IT and my mom doesn't really understand what I do. She just tells people "he works with computers". For her circle of friends, that is usually enough of an explanation. :A

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  • (In *MY* opinion) Old people, or people who do not know about dangers/risks involved using a computer connected to the internet should not be allowed to connect to the internet at all.
  • (In *MY* opinion) Old people, or people who do not know about dangers/risks involved using a computer connected to the internet should not be allowed to connect to the internet at all.

    then you start the debate on who can and can't use it. Some old people know more than many of us here do. I know a 50 odd year old who knows way more than 90% of the people on MSE know about computers. so therefore...

    ...age doesn't matter.


    I never used to know the dangers of connecting to the internet, but I'd only just got a computer then. Now, I know how to combat almost any problem, I can solve 99% of the problems that I ever face, if I can't I can always use the fail safe, format and start again, but I've even got ways to make that easier n less work. If I can't fix it, there is always some else who can help me.

    You can't understand the risks of using a computer or connecting to the internet unless you've actually used one. You can't teach IT from a book at a desk without having a computer in front of you.

    Most computers now come preloaded with security software on them, most ISPs offer security software. And there is enough publicity out there for people to realise that they have to do something.

    As for explaining to none computer literate people...

    show them, give them a demonstration, something simple. Explain that word is like a typewriter, the internet is like teletext and email is like a fax, but they're all quicker, easier and more efficient. Maybe even get them to have a little go? Let them find out how easy it is?
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