A tool that helps people learn about new websites, shared through personal connections

We have developed an effective free, digital inclusion tool, Buttons, that allows users to organise and share websites with people they know, helping make the internet more accessible and rewarding.

It aims to increase the number of people with basic digital skills and confidence and boost the range and depth of their use of key services.

The need

“Using buttons was easier because most problems are with learners entering a wrong web address or using different sites. Buttons made sure that everyone linked to the same site at the same time”

Tutor, UK Online Centre

The internet has improved people’s lives, whether through helping cut household bills, find jobs or maintain contact with distant friends and relatives, as well as providing broader benefits such as reducing isolation, improving health, supporting economic growth and closing equality gaps. Yet 21% of Britain’s population lack the basic digital skills and capabilities required to realise the benefits of the internet.

Overcoming barriers

Giving people who are unconfident online a simple set of websites they can trust can overcome the main barriers for using the internet. It provides motivation to go online, by linking to sites that are of particular interest to the individual, and removes the fear of knowing where to start and which sites are reputable.

Buttons is very simple to use, with clean bold graphics and editable, picture-based icons. It allows users to organise and share lists of websites, as well as information and tips on those sites. Users can view sets of Buttons created by other people or create their own.

Different ways of improving digital capabilities

“I would like to use them as an information point. For example one of my learners designed a set around free resources for a new computer”

Tutor, UK Online Centre

The tool is being used by:

  • Individuals – Those comfortable online helping friends and family who are less confident by setting up recommended Buttons sets.
  • IT teachers – Those working in learning environments introducing students to new sites.
  • Organisations – Those wanting to direct their users to a series of online information sources or tasks, simplifying digital processes.

A tool for everyone

“[Buttons would be useful] for clients with sight problems who have problems using the favourites toolbar”

Tutor, UK Online Centre

Beyond those wanting to increase digital capabilities, Buttons is a handy tool for people who simply want to share lists of sites – whether they are recommending their favourite restaurants to friends, sharing a reading list with colleagues or collating useful videos for their own research.

An iterative approach

“With the more frequent clients we could assist them in setting up buttons particularly for jobsearch, accessing benefits info”

Tutor, UK Online Centre

Buttons is the latest version of our digital inclusion tool, launched in Spring 2015.

Buttons is based on an early prototype called Internet Buttons, launched in 2010 in the UK and in 2011 in Ireland, the Netherlands and Poland. Internet Buttons was used by online centres and individuals across the UK and continues to be used in our other territories. To date it has helped around 20,000 users get online.

User testing of Internet Buttons in four countries provided insights into how the tool could be improved to reduce barriers for its usage and increase the situations in which it is useful. The new tool, Buttons, was tested in UK Online centres with the Tinder Foundation and eON.

Buttons is currently in beta, and we are still iterating and improving it. We appreciate any feedback you might have on the tool.


buttons testing

Buttons User Testing

November 1, 2013

Summary of the user testing of the latest prototype of Buttons carried out by the Tinder Foundation with 17 UK online centres and 44 centre learners across the country.

The Tinder Foundation

isnt everyone using internet

Isn’t everybody using the internet?

January 2, 2012

Infographic showing digital exclusion figures across Europe, plus affected audience groups and barriers.

Tori Flower and Kate Ferrier




Afternoon with Internet Starter
Liberty Global,Poland, May 2013

UPC Poland trains 4,000 seniors in web use in 2012
Telecompaper, 29th January 2013

New tool makes web easy for silver surfers
The Metro Herald, 27th March 2012

OAP help to try web
The Evening Herald, 27th March 2012

Web tool to tempt pensioners online
The Irish Daily Mail, 27th March 2012

A digital helping hand
The Irish Daily Star, 27th March 2012

Internet Starter – pierwszy raz… z internetem
Onet, 29th March 2012

Push It Good: A Page Of Buttons That Make It Super Easy To Use The Internet
Netted, January 2012

A New Mission to connect the nation
Telegraph, January 2012

A digital helping hand
Metro, February 2011


tinderSupports a network of 5,000 UK Online Centres local community partners and works with hundreds of national organisations to be smarter in how they use digital technology. They supported the prototype Internet Buttons and undertook user testing and evaluation of Buttons.

goonGo On UK (formerly known as Race Online) supported the prototype Internet Buttons.

Supported by

nominettrust      libertyglobal      Eon



Winner of the Tech4Good Innovation Award 2011.

Do you want to get involved? We'd love to hear from you
Email me - sean.noonan@shiftdesign.org.uk