Mahalo is a website that lets internet users “learn anything.” The website maintains an extensive library of “how to” style videos and instructions that guide users through various activities. The homepage contains a list of categories that include business and finance, music, travel, language, taxes, sports and fitness, jobs, hobbies and games, celebrities, humor, parenting, technology and many more. A built in search tool is also available to help users find specific subjects or activities. Users can learn how to do anything from surviving in the wilderness to earning three stars on every level of Angry Birds. When viewing the page for a specific topic, the user is given written instructions, tutorial videos, fun facts, lists of related videos and Facebook comment options.
Mahalo was founded in March of 2007 by Jason Calacanis. The website focuses on a “human powered” search function. The current library is very extensive and covers any unique and diverse topics, however some critics also mention that not everything can be learned using a tool like Mahalo. While someone may think they are very good at something, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are qualified to teach it to someone else. Overall, Mahalo offers an extensive collection of walkthroughs, guides and tutorials that make a valuable supplemental tool to anyone trying to learn something new.
Information is widespread on the web, and many websites have adopted a similar format like Mahalo. The concept isn’t terribly new, but the approach is a little different from most of the alternatives. Sites like Monkey See primarily focus on video tutorials. Mahalo includes video and text in a way that forms an entire guide. Users can learn in greater detail through reading or watching, whichever they prefer based on their individual learning needs.
Mahalo has a pleasant design that is accented by the Hawaiian themed logo. The interface is constructed of a lightly colored background and blue headers broken into neat columns. The headers make it easy for users to browse a Mahalo page and find information as they need it. The interface design is simple and very user friendly, with no obstacles to slow the user down. This design works well to keep the focus on the information provided rather than the way it is presented.
A new user can join the Mahalo community by clicking the light blue “Register” link in the upper right hand corner of the page (inside the narrow blue header). The left column of the next page invites the user to login with a Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn or Windows Live ID account. Others can fill out the form to the right, which asks for an email address, username and password. After submitting the completed form, the user is automatically logged in and can begin adding topics and friends to their profile.
Mahalo is driven primarily by its user community, so charging a fee would only discourage new people from signing up and participating. Anyone can register and maintain an account for free. There are no subscription fees and the user is not required to donate or make any purchases. The site earns some revenue from advertisements. The free price makes Mahalo an attractive resource for someone who is exploring a new skill or activity.
Mahalo is a powerful resource for anyone who wants to learn something new. Although the website may not be a complete replacement for classes or the instruction of a professional trainer, it can provide a great deal of insight and advice to help the user get started and improve. Many diverse topics are covered so there is truly something for everyone. Users can register or browse without an account any time they want.