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The latest "thing" in Web design

Amateur and professional Web designers alike get a new tool from ThingWorld to help them easily create fully interactive sites.

    Amateur and professional Web designers alike are getting a new tool to help them easily create sites that are fully interactive.

    ThingWorld, set to launch tomorrow, is the latest offering from start-up Parable. It offers designers what amounts to a clip-art gallery of multimedia "things."

    "Things" are what Parable proudly calls its multimedia creations. They often include sound and motion, as well as adapt to the user's mouse movement. The "things" available on the site require no coding to replicate them for use on another site and are easy to customize.

    A user can simply drag an image from the ThingWorld site into ThingMaker--the company's Web authoring multimedia companion tool--then customize that image and drop it onto a page.

    Designers can add their own information to the "things" that they create using ThingMaker and ThingWorld, as well as control what parts of their creation can be altered by others for use on other sites. Images will bear the original designer's copyright and biographical information.

    For the first time, corporations and organizations like the Boston Red Sox, an early adopter of the technology, can control how and where other sites use their trademarked logos. In the past, a company's only options against trademark infringement were often after the fact. Now, if a designer uses these tools to create multimedia on their site, they can theoretically control how else it is used by "locking" what aspects of the design are static and what can be changed.

    "It helps protect intellectual property on the corporate end," Parable software evangelist Andrew Collins said. "On the individual user's end, it levels the playing field," because individuals have access to sophisticated interactive images that they may not have the technical expertise to create through traditional coding, he added.