Communications: Site Visit - www.askthesite.org

Gary Flood

They say that on the internet no one knows who you are, so for some it is the best medium for the deeply personal questions that trouble people, especially young people.

This is the philosophy behind an innovative advice website from YouthNet UK. Visitors aged 16 to 25 can get a confidential steer on sex and relationships, drink and drugs, work and study.

Main pages

The main page nicely sets out its offers and some recent questions, the 'Last Ten'. These give a feel for the topics you can get data on as well as what people are most bothered by. If someone is too shy to ask a question (which is sent off to an expert partner organisation and answered within three days), there is a database of previous answers.

Special features

The site is clean and simple and has a sense of urgency. You feel a lot is happening and lots of resources are on offer, but not so many that it's disorganised. It is a bit text-heavy, but it's hard to see how that could be avoided given the subject matter. The search engine works - for a change. Overall, it's a good uncluttered site that will develop personality as it gets more use and will surely be a good place to recommend to youngsters.

YouthNet UK says

"TheSite.org, our regular site, was redesigned to incorporate the first confidential online support service for young people. It had to facilitate a number of uses: information, advice and peer-to-peer support. The new functionality and design allow users to be two clicks away from help."

- See Newsmaker, p21

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