Posts Tagged ‘ictchampion’

How do you choose new software? For many people for many years it’s been pretty simple – go for whatever Microsoft does and get on with it. However some problems just can’t be solved that easily, like buying a website or database, which are more about buying a service than a product. And the growth of open source has also shifted the goalposts, as has the rapid growth in online services, such as Google Docs or online meeting planners such as Doodle.ch. So is there a simple process everyone could can follow?

It very much depends on what you want, when you want it and who you’re asking, but US-based IdealWare has suggested six simple steps for when you’re in a hurry and have specific needs – “something that’s neither a big investment nor particularly strategic”. It offers a very useful starting point, and I particularly like the fact that Step 2 suggests that you investigate whether your current software can do the job.

This is a really useful point, especially given the wealth of features in Microsoft Office. So as well as suggesting you check out their Six Steps I would add that it’s always helpful to have reference books available, especially books such as Office 2003 Timesaving Techniques in the Dummies series. This goes beyond the basics and includes tips for Excel, Word and the rest of the Office suite and I use it at least once every month for fiddly things I don’t do very often.

Of course for more advice on just about every topic I’d always recommend looking at LASA’s ICT Knowledgebase, especially for larger projects such as websites and databases.

Idealware: Selecting Software on a Shoestring


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Drupal is a powerful open source tool for creating websites that can be managed by people without a high degree of technical skills. It is a very popular tool with a large community of users, and it is free.

Drupal logoMany people around the world use Drupal to set up sites for not for profit organisation – we’ve been using at SCIP for several years, including our own site at www.scip.org.uk. The initial set up stage still requires a specialist web developer, but once it’s in place it can offer very powerful features to anyone with basic keyboard and mouse skills.

These sites are becoming increasingly popular for small and medium sized community organisations, alongside the growth of personal sites such as Blogger. You can change content quickly and easily, add photographs and useful links to other sites, add news stories and tidy up loose ends, such as when staff or job titles change.

Drupal has developed thanks to the commitment and collaboration of a wide range of people across the world. This conference in Coventry in late August is for web developrs with a specific interest in creating sites for the voluntary sector. It’s just £15 and is being organised by Illuminate ICT.

Our Drupal Conference | www.illuminateict.org.uk

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