If this is all you see, you have a non-java browser I am afraid.
PATIENCE. please read this.
If you don't see the Chat window when you first connect, it means that your browser has not been able to connect to the applet server.
The first time you connect (and after any updates to the server site), it will take a while for your browser to download the java classes.
This might take as long as 5 minutes. Please be patient, it is usually a one off wait, and well worth it.
The messages in the status window at the bottom of your browser will tell you if it is still downloading.
The chat area is simple to use - simply type your text into the text area at the bottom. If you type your name into the box at the top, it will appear alongside your messages (otherwise you'll be "Anon").
A list of users appears underneath the name box, and this controls who you are talking to. By default "ALL" is selected, which means that whatever you type is sent to all other users. If you want to talk to one particular person, simply click on their name in the list. Also, you can "ignore" a user (i.e. you won't see any of their messages) by clicking on their name and clicking Ignore. Remember to click on "ALL" again after ignoring a person, otherwise you'll still be talking to the ignored person!
The message board allows you to post messages which are stored on the server and can be read by other people even after you have logged off. When you bring up the message board window (either by clicking on the Message Board button, or immediately when you connect to the groupboard if it doesn't have chat or a whiteboard), it will list the subjects of messages which have been posted. To see a message, simply click on it's title and it will be displayed.
You can post a message either by clicking on Post New Article, or by selecting an article and clicking on Post Reply. The only difference is that replying to a message will automatically fill in the subject of the message. When you've typed in the message, simply click on Post to post it, or Cancel to leave without posting the message.
Email Reply allows you to reply to a message via email (your reply will only be sent to the person who posted the message, so other people won't see it). Note that you can only reply by email if the person who posted the message put in a valid email address!
Clicking on Refresh reloads the message index from the server, so that you can see if any new messages have been posted.
Press Close to quit from the message board window.