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March 1, 2012 / carlispina

Internet Buttons Make the Internet Easy

Those of us who love technology and use the internet daily can have trouble relating to those who are still wary of the internet. But, for a large segment of the population, particularly those who grew up before the internet, navigating the web can seem complicated and overwhelming. These people would often benefit greatly from what the web has to offer, but can’t seem to overcome the initial learning curve. Internet Buttons is a great option for helping these individuals to make their first foray into internet use in a user-friendly and safe way.

Internet Buttons is a service that allows you to create a very simple page that has large square buttons that link to whatever websites you select. This sounds like a very simple idea, and it is, but it means that users can immediately navigate with one click to their favorite internet sites without needing to remember the URL or how to enter a URL into their browser. The buttons are large, making it easy to click on them and are brightly colored to make the page look fun and inviting. Setting up Internet Button is simple, with options to set them up for yourself or for another person, with the intention that users might want to set up Internet Buttons for their less technologically savvy relatives or friends. Pages that are set up for someone else include the option to have your picture and a brief message at the bottom of the page with the suggestion that you may want to include your phone number in case the recipient runs into trouble. If you create a set of Internet Buttons for yourself, you are given the option to fully customize a set from scratch or the option to take a brief multiple choice quiz at the end of which possible buttons will be recommended for you based on your responses. Either option is fairly easy to use, though realistically may be a bit difficult for individuals who are new enough to the internet that they will find Internet Buttons helpful.

To me, the best feature of this tool is the option to set up buttons on behalf of another. Once your have finalized your selections, you can save your internet buttons, at which point you will set an easy to remember URL for your set of buttons.  By default, buttons are private and require a password to access the URL, but you can opt to instead make them public so there is no need to remember or enter a URL.  Once you have your URL, it can easily be shared with others, set as a homepage or accessed from other computers and devices. Using the buttons is as simple as clicking on them and, as an added bonus, where possible Internet Buttons includes a banner at the top of the destination page that will take you directly back to your Internet Buttons page, though I found some websites override this feature after a few seconds. Another nice feature is the ample support that Internet Buttons provides. In addition to a help bar that explains their service, they also offer helpful explanations and even videos for some of the most common button choices, such as Skype.

Internet Buttons is a great option for that person in your life who is intimidated by the internet but would benefit greatly from the ability to check email, make Skype calls or read the online version of their favorite newspaper. I also think that Internet Buttons has potential uses for librarians as well. It is a simple way to introduce populations that are not familiar with the internet to the possibilities it offers. I could see using Internet Buttons or a similar set up as the homepage on computers for children to make it easy for them to go to specific sites or as an option when helping someone get set up on the internet for the first time as part of a class offered at the library. Internet Buttons is well worth checking out if you are looking for options for getting people started online without the usual distractions and complications. Take a look at the video below for a quick overview of the service.

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One Comment

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  1. Marie Kennedy (@orgmonkey) / Mar 27 2012 11:47 am

    really cool idea.

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