With more and more editorial news staffers expanding their roles in online news, it’s important for many to get the basics of the Internet and web tools down first.
WEB BROWSER INTRODUCTION
A web browser is a software application that people use to interact with text and multimedia on websites located on the world wide web (via wikipedia).
Most people use web browsers more than any other tool for interacting with the Internet. Web browsers allow for easy access to websites, social media and chat programs.
The most popular web browsers include:
If you aren’t sure which browser to use, I’d recommend choosing Firefox first, followed by Google’s Chrome.
ANATOMY OF A WEB BROWSER
The above pic shows a standard Firefox Browser. Firefox allows for many add ons, extensions and extra toolbars, which attracts many users.
The highlighted areas contain specific areas of the web browser that a user should know by name.
A. TOOLBARS, ADDRESS BARS and TITLE BARS
A1: Title Bar – The text that appears at the top of the browser window is called the title bar. This usually includes text that describes the content that appears on the web page. For example, the text of the title bar for MSNBC.com is “Breaking News, Weather, Business, Health …”.
The text of the title bar is also the text that appears in Google search results for that page. If you Google search for “msnbc”, the text you will likely find for the MSNBC.com home page search result is the same as the text you see in the title bar of the MSNBC.com home page.
A2: Toolbar – A tool bar is a menu bar of buttons and input boxes on the browser. The toolbar in this example is the Navigational Toolbar. This standard Firefox toolbar includes the browser’s back, forward, home and reload buttons, as well as the address box and search box (not pictured).
A3: Address Field – This input box displays the address, or URL, of the webpage you are viewing. You can enter any web address in this box to navigate to new pages. You can also copy a URL (web page address) and paste it into this box.
To copy a web page address from a text document or web page, highlight the desired URL (example: http://www.msnbc.com or www.msnbc.com or msnbc.com) and press Ctrl+C. To paste the URL into the box, click the browser’s address field and press Ctrl+V. Then press enter to load the web page you’d like to navigate to.
Some other popular toolbars for the Firefox browser include:
- Bookmarks toolbar (Firefox native toolbar)
- Digg Toolbar
- Google Toolbar
- Stumbleupon Toolbar
- Facebook Toolbar
These toolbars each have their uses, but some users may find them overwhelming. If you’re not interested in the social media tools, stick to using just the bookmarks toolbar. Some users also choose the Yahoo! toolbar, but I haven’t had a whole lot of positive experiences with it.
B. RSS BUTTON and SEARCH BOX
B1: RSS Button – If a web page offers and RSS feed, in most modern browsers, you will see the orange square with white lines. This indicates an RSS feed is available for that particular web page.
You can click this button to open a new dialogue box in your browser that will give you options for subscribing to this RSS feed.
B2: Search Box – The search box is a standard on most modern web browsers. Instead of visiting Google or Yahoo! to search for something, just enter your search phrase into this box on the top left of your browser and hit enter. The browser should automatically send the query to the desired search engine and send you to a search engine results page.
Google Chrome works a little differently in that both the address field and the search box are combined in the same field. You can type either a URL or a search query, and Google will send you to the appropriate page.
C. STATUS BAR
The status bar appears at the bottom of your web browser. When you are loading a web page, this bar usually will show the browser’s progress. Also, when you hover links with your pointer, the address of those links will often appear in this status box. This allows you to see which web page your browser will load before clicking the link.
The status bar can offer more functions when you add extensions or add ons to your browsers.
Tabs give your browser the ability to load multiple web pages without opening a new window.
To open a new tab, press Ctrl+T. You then will have a new tab where you can open a new web page and easily switch back and forth between your other tabs.
When multitasking, web work without tabs would be nearly impossible. Give them a try.
There’s Plenty More to Learn
You’ve just learned the basics of a web browser and its terms. Stick around newmediabytes.com to learn about more things you can do with your browser to enhance its functionality.