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Web Design Ideas

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

When to Spend Money on Your Web Design Ideas

We see it daily: “Create your website for free” but is it really free? What about the hosting, the domain, your security and privacy. Will there be an indirect cost to my business after subscribing to this “free” offer? Before we answer all the questions above, we need to ascertain the real nature of the business we intend to advertise, and the purpose it serves.

We will share what steps to take in deciding web design ideas to make your website come alive on the World Wide Web

There are many offers on the internet that invite you to build a website for free. They even indicate how easy it is to create your free website. This might be true if you are not running a professional business or if you have a flair for graphic arts and basic designing.

More Than Just a Web Presence

Your online presence should be more than just taking up cyberspace. It should allow easy access, creativity, easy navigation, social media integration, search engine visibility and more user-friendly features.

All the above should be taken into consideration once you decide to compete with hundreds of other businesses like yours on the World Wide Web. With a fraction of the real cost, a professional Web Designer or Web Developer can make your business more effective to stand out from the rest.

The Luring Strategy

Most companies that advertise free and easy web templates know that it is more than just a “drag and drop” phenomenon. They encourage you to upgrade soon after they capture your interest.

Do You Want To Own Your Domain?

This is an important question with so many important answers. Of course, I want to personalize my domain since it gives me the flexibility to make my identity, products, and services unique. However, if I am allowed to create a website for free, chances are I will automatically inherit a sub domain from the hosting provider of the free service.

Let’s take WordPress as an example: WordPress offers free websites but if you look at your domain name, it has the WordPress URL plus your business name at the end after the slash. This is so due to the fact that you do not own the domain. Once you upgrade your free account to a paid subscriber, you will be billed for your personalized domain name and the features that go with your subscription.

Do Consider Bandwidth

Your bandwidth is also a key factor in deciding your web design ideas. If you have a free website, your space to store pictures, movies and other files, may be limited as your hosting plan is shared with other free subscribers. Then, there is the need for security since you do not fully own the website.

Are Your Fully Secured?

Security becomes an issue when choosing your web design ideas. You might not want to share your hosting as it could be vulnerable to attacks such as hacking and other counter cyber activities.

Passion Or Profit

The bottom line in selecting suitable web design ideas, one should consider all the above factors. I always reiterate that if one intends to run a professional money-making business, or if one is desirous of attracting qualified clients, he or she should seek the help of a Web Designer, Web Developer or Graphic Arts specialist.

If someone wants to create a blog for a hobby, then my recommendation to them is to accept the free offer, save their money, select and create the web design ideas on their own. Once we understand the nature of the web hosting industry and what it offers, and the results it generates, we will be better able to make qualified decisions.

Breaking the Mould

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

Kalpana Pathak, Breaking the Mould: Alternative Schools in India, Chennai: Westland Ltd., 2016, ISBN 978-93-85152-29-0, pp. XVI + 230, Rs. 295.

Education is a field of interest in our times. The mushrooming of numerous institutes and centres providing education and the amount of propaganda done are witness to this fact. The scene of education in India is neither something worth admiring nor is it deserving of absolute condemnation. There is no doubt that India doesn’t feature anywhere among the top countries when it comes to education. According to the Legatum Prosperity Index 2016, India ranks 102nd among the 149 countries surveyed, in the field of education. Our education system does leave a lot to be desired. While on the one hand there are people who uphold the IIT’s and IIM’s as exemplars of success there are a greater number who lament the rote learning approach that is characteristic of the Indian educational system.

In Breaking the Mould, the author explores the world of alternative education in India and attempts to present the intensive study she has made in the field. The book has nine chapters besides an enlightening introduction. The chapters explain different facets of alternative education and thus comprehensively provide a good view of alternative education in the country.

Alternative education in its broadest sense can simply be defined as everything that mainstream education is not. One’s first impression upon hearing about alternative education may be to think of it as a Western idea. If that is the case then one will be surprised to know that there have been illustrious Indians who have also pioneered this concept locally. Famous Western names associated with alternative education are Montessori and Steiner. In the pre-independence period, social reformers and freedom fighters began to explore alternatives to the education system of the day. Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Jiddu Krishnamurthi and Gijubhai Badheka emphasized on experiential learning and innovative pedagogy (pg. 19). For some of these individuals like Tagore, seeking a method of alternative education arose from their own negative experience with mainstream education.

The first chapter despite being named ‘The Origins and History of Alternative Education’ offers very little in that regard. What it does in fact, is give a brief history of education in India, beginning from the Vedic period through the medieval and modern and culminating in the post-independence period. The final part of the chapter introduces the concept of alternative education and briefly describes the reasons for its origin.

Chapter two is a lengthy one as it deals with ‘Philosophies of Alternative Education Thinkers and their Schools’. This perhaps is the most crucial chapter of the book as it forms the basis on which all further explanation depends. The author examines the situation of the philosopher in the light of his/her views on education. Then, she goes on to describe with care to fine details, one institute associated with the philosopher.

The third chapter scrutinizes the rationale of alternative schools and their views on educational components like classrooms, pedagogy, art and craft, physical activity and assessment and study material. The next chapter is also a very important chapter from the point of view of the book for it presents the ‘Advantages, Disadvantages and Myths of Alternative Schooling’. In order to emphasize the point, the author compares alternative education to mainstream education and thereby shows the advantages and disadvantages of such a system. The advantages far exceed the disadvantages and myths thereby showing a favourable inclination towards alternative education. The myths and disadvantages are presented albeit not in a completely neutral manner; the author tends to be defensive towards alternative schools.

The fifth chapter discusses the ‘Challenges for Alternative Schools’. Once again the challenges presented are decisive but receive a subtly biased representation. The author tones down the potency of these challenges and makes it seem as if they are minor hurdles that alternative education can hop over. A closer and critical examination will reveal that it isn’t as easy to push them aside as the author makes it look. Chapter six is evidently added for dramatic effect and chronicles the interviews of students, parents and a teacher associated with alternative schools. At this point the author does appear to become pushy with the concept of alternative education. The repeated emphasis on the goodness of alternative education works on the unconscious mind much like advertisements.

Chapter seven assesses the ‘Impact of the Right to Education Act (RTE) on Alternative Schools’. RTE threatened the ideology of alternative education and brought it to its knees. The stress on infrastructure and teacher qualification for example, placed heavy burdens on the shoestring budget of such schools and the voluntary nature of its teachers. Chapter eight briefly touches upon the topic of ‘Homeschooling and Alternative Education’. The author ends the book with a detailed directory of alternative schools in India. As I went through the list I noticed that mostly the bigger states were mentioned. I engaged on a little search myself and found a site (alternativeeducationindia.net) which acts as an online directory for all registered alternative schools. The author gives a brief description of each school and furnishes their contact details and address.

The book explores the lesser known contender to mainstream education. However, the author bathes alternative education in milk and honey and presents it in a glorified manner. On some occasions the author has repeated quotations in an attempt to drill a point. Such repetitions become tiresome after a while. The pictures accompanying the text are a fail as they are not clear on account of their conversion from colour to grayscale. On the backcover one reads: “All in all, a must-have on the bookshelf of every parent.” I beg to differ. While reading this may influence some parents into putting their children in an alternative school, most parents will find such an option not-feasible despite the attractiveness of the concept. Basic factors like proximity and transport have to be considered before enrolling a child in a school. While alternative schools are cheaper they are not always located in proximate vicinities on account of their pedagogical requirements. The book is without doubt very informative but suffers from numerous grammatical errors and typos. The author deserves credit for painstakingly visiting such schools firsthand and gathering data and feedback. Her presentation however lacked journalistic neutrality but made-up with thoroughness and style characteristic of a journalistic background.