Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Personalised Start Pages

Let's be honest, despite the vast size of the World Wide Web, most of us have only 30 or 40 sites which we visit on a regular basis. But even then, we sometimes have difficulties in remembering the addresses of each one, and typing in the various URLs that we need can sometimes be time-consuming. Wouldn't it be better if we had our own personalised web page where all the information we needed was only a click away?

An increasing number of people are starting to address this problem by setting up their own sites with applications like Pageflakes or Netvibes. Basically you set up a free account, and then log in to a page which you tailor to suit your own needs. You can include links to webpages, your email, RSS feeds with relevant news stories, even a window with the weather forecast for your area! As well as choosing the links, you can drag and drop the various elements of the page so that they are arranged however you want them; there really are no progamming skills required.

Start pages like these seem to be something of a Marmite choice - you either love them or hate them, but it's worth spending a few minutes playing with the applications to find out if you're a fan. To get an idea of how such a page might look in practice, take a look at the recently revamped homepage of the BBC, which has many of the features that have been described here.

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