What makes a good or bad language learning site?

Torsten’s posts on where the online ESL market is headed have made me think about another question to ask you all. What do you think makes a good or bad language learning site?

One thing I think is important is that a good site should be programmed to universal web standards. Most of my friends don’t use Windows, and many colleges and companies I teach at forbid the use of Internet Explorer in their computers. In my opinion, a well-made site should not “punish” people who don’t or can’t use one Microsoft program or another. It should work in Mozilla, Opera, Safari, Shiira, Camino or whatever up-to-date browser the person is using. (That word up-to-date is the key!)

Hi Jamie,
I am sooo surprised to read that indeed because in Bulgaria 90% of the people use exactly Windows and exactly Internet Explorer as a browser. I don’t see anything wrong with them and as a matter of fact it’s not important how I see it but what the facts show. And the facts do show that (at least in BG) we seem to use “useless” (or rather unused) Microsoft programs.
I guess I am really lucky because the sites I use do not “punish” me like that. In my opinion a site is created in order to be useful and helpful for a certain reason, thus it should serve people in a way, and not make people serve it.

Hi Jamie

I agree! A good website should have “universal” web standards. Here in Germany, fewer and fewer people are using MS Internet Explorer (I use Firefox), more and more people are using Linux, etc.

I also think it’s important to keep in mind that not everybody in the world has broadband. I’ve been trying to get that for 6 years now. For some reason Deutsche Telekom can’t manage it here. :evil:


A lot of schools and companies in the US forbid, or strongly recommend not using, Internet Explorer because there are so many viruses written to attack it, and because it has worse security features than Firefox and some other browsers. There are also whole industries and school systems that use almost nothing but Macintoshes, and some companies and individuals have been switching to Linux, because it is less virus prone and more stable than Windows – and it’s FREE. (Also, the tech support department at one large company where I worked claimed that it cost the company $250 more per year to support a Windows machine than a Mac.) Creating a Windows-only, Internet Explorer-only site in the US is like thumbing your nose at a very large number of computer users.

As of last month, more than 25% of US computer users did not use Internet Explorer (most of those used Firefox). Just under 90% here use some form of Windows, but that number is very slowly shrinking. In Bulgaria, 10% of the computer market is not many people, but in North America, 10% is millions and millions of people, and site designers ignore them at their peril.

Hi Amy, have you tried to use an alternative to Deutsche Telekom? Do you have cable TV? If so, you should speak to your cable TV provider, maybe they can offer an internet broadband connection and you won’t have to wait for ages until T-com change their mind. Also, have you thought about Base? You pay ?25 and you can stay online as long as you want through a mobile connection.

Jamie, you have brought up an interesting point here - the choice of the ‘right browser’.
I remember when I made my first Internet trips in 1995 I used to travel by Netscape Navigator. That was when the Netscape held about 80% of the browser market and it took Bill Gates a while to grasp the enormous potential of this new arena.

Microsoft Internet Explorer soon started to gain popularity when it became an integral part of the Windows operating system. And as you have pointed out, this browser has lots of security loopholes and lacks far behind Firefox when it comes to functionality and stability.

This is why Google has joined forces with Mozilla and I would estimate that Firefox could become more popular than the Microsoft browers. Imagine Google and Mozilla would ad a feature that allows you to talk with other users via the Internet - something like Skype but integrated into your browser so you don’t have to download and install any additional software. What do you think of such an option?

PS: A funny thing I’ve noticed is that when you view a message on our forum through MS Internet Explorer, it shows the wrong time of the post while Firefox displays the time of the post correctly.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: Would you rather get a Blackberry or an I-phone?[YSaerTTEW443543]