Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

You can do IT in later life - 37

You can do IT is a regular feature of aimed at trying to help laterlife visitors make the most of Information Technology on or off the web.

Jackie Sherman who runs the You can do IT Question & Answer section is an IT trainer and author. Jackie has spent her career in education and specialises in teaching IT to adults. Her courses for adults include such topics as MS Office, the Internet, e-mail and basic web page authoring. Getting the most from your computer.jpg (5543 bytes)

Jackie has also written the two books shown here - you can find more details about these by clicking on the cover images above. Jackie has also been running a course specifically for over 50s.

Via Jackie aims to particularly help those new to IT and the web to build up knowledge and confidence, so no question is too basic. At the same time she will cover Q&As for the more experienced user. 

So if you would like to ask a question of Jackie, why not email her

or if you have discovered something which may be of interest to others in making the most of the web, then she would love to hear about that too

Finding the perfect present on the web  

Introduction: Most people use the Internet for finding things – information, advice or goods and services to buy.  There are many advantages to shopping on the Web, the main ones being:

  1. No travel costs;

  2. It is easy to compare prices and detailed information on items across a wide range of suppliers, so that you can find the cheapest or best value;

  3. Discovering manufacturers or goods that you would otherwise never hear about; and

  4. Being able to read reviews on some sites before you buy.



Safety: We hear a great deal about credit card fraud, but if you take sensible precautions, it is now common to buy online. Check that you can see a padlock symbol at the bottom of your screen when you start typing in personal details (you will usually be warned that you are visiting a secure site), and make sure you save or note down full details of how to contact the organisation, and your order number, for future reference if there is a problem.

Searching:  Where do you begin? If you follow these simple steps, you should be able to buy anything you want with the minimum of fuss. Let’s imagine you want to send a Christmas hamper to your cousin in another part of the country:  

Step 1:   

Do you know any companies that sell hampers? If you do, you can type their address straight into the Address box at the top of the screen and visit their Website directly. To replace that will already be showing in the box, click the name once (it will turn blue) and start typing straight away. You will replace the address with the new one. Then press your Enter key to open the page.

The address will probably follow the convention:

1.      www. To show it is on the Web

2.      name. Such as waitrose, tesco, sainsburys etc. (type in lower case as it is not case sensitive)

3. when you know it is a British company, (or com if International).

If you don’t know any hamper companies, you need to open the page for a Search Engine – a site that helps you search the web using “key words”.  My favourite is, so replace the Laterlife address with this one and press Enter.  

Step 2:

What should you type into the search box you will find on the site?

Ideally, you need to be as specific as possible, to cut down on the number of Websites that are offered to you that contain your “key” search words. Here are the results of my searches, showing how varying the words and adding punctuation can reduce the number of Websites offered to you:

Hampers resulted in a list of 590,000 possible Websites to visit. Many were American, so next time I clicked the radio button next to the “pages from the UK” choice to limit the results. I could have typed the letters UK into my key word search box as an alternative.

Christmas hampers found 45,800 sites.

Christmas hampers under 30 resulted in 2,210 sites, but many mentioned the word “under” and number “30” separately

Christmas hampers “under 30” reduced the number to 771, as the speech marks linked the words into a phrase that made more sense.

“Christmas hampers” “under 30” found 686 sites, as the speech marks prevented any sites containing just the word “Christmas” appearing in the list.  

Step 3:

Scroll down the list of Websites that appear once you have made a search, remembering that the most relevant will appear at the top. If the first 10 addresses are not helpful, click the Next or Page 2 link offered at the bottom of the list. Read each description carefully, then click a Website link (blue, underlined text at the top of each paragraph) to open the Website.  Now use the index and click pictures or underlined text to explore the site and find your preferred hamper. New pages will only open if your mouse pointer displays a hand or you click an actual button.  

Step 4:

When ready to purchase, you need to “go to the checkout” by clicking this link. You will usually be shown your bill and must register with the site or complete personal, address and credit card details. They usually send you confirmation by e-mail, so you will need an e-mail address to order online. Then a final click and you will see what the delivery costs are! If you are happy with the final price, complete any extra boxes such as an alternative address if the present is to be sent direct, and confirm your purchase. Make a note of the order number etc. for your reference, or print out the final page showing all the details.

Happy Shopping.  


View previous editions of YoucandoIT for more useful Questions and Answers

Click on a book or magazine image above or below to see full details.



For a wealth of books on the web and IT generally, visit Amazon and under the books section select Computers and Internet.


Don't forget to visit the general laterlife features section called laterlife interest


Advertise on