People usually use the internet for finding jobs and dates. Family matters are somewhere lower in the hierarchy, although there are also prominent groups of family oriented users, such as mommy bloggers. Paul Taylor, the creator of Arcalife came up with the idea of capturing important memories, when his mother struggled with a fatal ilness. He realised that modern day humans tend to lose a lot of valuable information, because we no longer spend long hours talking near a fireplace, but rather make appointments through text messages and send dry emails to each other.
<p>Arcalife is supposed to become a database of family memories, pictures, videos, as well as a family tree, and a searching tool. Users can create their family profiles, sites about special events, such as weddings, graduation days or holidays, form family trees and circles, and groups of friends. The site can be even used for keeping important documents, like birth certificates, wills, and insurance documents in a scanned version. Even 'graveside messages' can be saved, and send to adressees after the confirmed death of the user.</p>
This site has dozens of tools to create the family life database, and even more ways to put it in an attractive form. There are also detailed tutorials, to allow the new user to use the site in an efficient way. First, there's the 'Life Chapters' section, where the user can upload media and descriptions of different stages of life - from birth, through school years, proffesional life, pregnancy to 'the golden years'. Then, the 'Events & Experience' section, the user can upload the description of a significant event (for example the birth of a child) along with appropriate documents, (such as the birth certificate). 'Family & Friends' section has the family tree generating tool, family cirlcle manager and search tools, that can be used to search for lost relatives of information to complete the missing bits of the tree. The last section 'The Life Showcase' includes a number of innovative tools for presenting one's life: the 'Life Cube', which shows the chosen images in a 3D form, and can be sent to other people, 'Time Line', to create a display of the most important moments, combined with audio files, and 'Time Capsule', used for storing files, that can be send to an email adress on a chosen date. The last option is the 'Beyond the Grave' phonecall - a message that could be recorded by a living user and delivered to a chosen person after the user's death.
<p>This site looks very proffesional, but pleasant and family-like, it is very clear and easy to navigate. The layout is also very coherent, there is nothing that looks out of place. The colours are pretty, and the site makes a very good overall impression.</p>
<p>The site is really impressive - both in terms of the approach, the design of the site and tools, and the execution. There's a couple of things that can come to the mind of the user - how efficient is the security of the site, and will it really last forever? If one thinks about storing his wedding certificate, insurance documents and last will, he must be certain that the information will not leak out. And if the galleries and family trees are supposed to outlive the users and be handed down to their children, the service must really be secure and immune to internet dangers.</p>