About the Site
Our team had long discussions about a topic choice. We knew that we needed to find a topic that was interesting, detailed, and meaningful, not only for visitors to our website, but for ourselves. We knew that creating a website takes a lot of work, including research and writing, as well as accomplishing more technical tasks. We wanted to know throughout the process that, when it was over, our website's topic would engage visitors so that they would be more motivated to look at our work and so that it would be a good contribution to the ThinkQuest Library.
In the past, two of us had presented a project devoted to discussing security on the internet in simple, straightforward terms that made a heavy use of conceptual ideas and little use of technical jargon. Building off this experience, the team this year decided to consider a similar goal: explaining something complex in simple, conceptual terms with lots of examples. Ultimately, we settled on what we call an “Introduction to Interactivity.” We examined recent broad trends online and found that, more and more, web sites were turning to user-generated content and other forms of interactivity. We could see benefits and disadvantages to this shift, and we could also see how some of the underlying technologies are pretty complex, yet powerful. We knew that, as web users, it is important to understand the evolving nature of our medium.
Our goal, therefore, was to introduce this concept of interactivity in a conceptual, entirely non-technical sense, by showing how it is becoming more and more prevalent online, why it matters, and why it is both good and bad for the online world. As part of achieving this goal, we thought it important to include a number of case studies of popular websites today, showing how each uses interactivity. We decided to do this because, from our own experience, it is always easiest to grasp concepts when a clear explanation is paired with good examples. In essence, we also recognize that many of our visitors might be curious about some of the new technologies that create and enhance interactivity, as we found many of these technologies very interesting in our research. As a result, we decided to cover some notable and popular technologies in a conceptual way, highlighting what each did, how it created or enhanced interactivity, and why it was commonly used. All of this was to be done without forcing users to look at code or work with advanced programming structures; we simply wanted to introduce and highlight technologies many of our visitors will use—even if they don’t know it—during their activity online.
We decided on a final component to our website. We felt that it was always important to encourage visitors to learn more and investigate a topic more thoroughly. As a result, we not only carefully provided sources and highlighted further reading for our topics, but decided to outline how you can use these technologies to create or enhance interactivity on your own site. Our goal in this section is merely to get you started in exploring how you might put them to use, if you have any interest in doing so.
This is not a site merely for webmasters to reference. We feel it is a site with content relevant to all web users, globally. Interactive websites exist in many languages, and the conceptual underpinnings of interactivity are universal. In essence, interactivity is in large part about communication. By clearly articulating the important concepts and outlining in an understandable fashion the technologies in use, we aim to educate our visitors. While we have provided some small sections for webmasters interested in putting these technologies to use in their own sites, our primary goal is not to make our visitors better webmasters, but better web users, more cognizant of the types of sites that exist, the modern concepts governing more and more websites, and why this gradual shift matters. If we have done that, or if we have inspired you to learn more about a particular concept or technology, then we consider our website a success.