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* Monday, March 13, 2006

Making RSS Easier

Among the many things keeping me more than busy these days is a commitment I made to be on the RSS Advisory Board. You can easily look up the controversy surrounding it, but my intent in joining as a "non-techie" was to help make RSS easier for the end user. We're in the middle of a vote for a big step forward in this area.

In my presentations and RSS class, I always say the white-on-orange RSS/XML button is about the worst way to represent what it actually means and means absolutely nothing to pretty much everyone, so I am happy to have voted yes to try and change this.

Support the Common Feed Icon

"In an effort to make the concept of syndication easier for mainstream users, the next versions of the Internet Explorer and Opera browsers will identify RSS and Atom feeds with the same icon used in Mozilla Firefox. Since the market share of these browsers tops 95 percent, the icon will become the de facto standard for syndication overnight when the next version of Microsoft Windows comes out later this year.

The common feed icon has been adopted by hundreds of web sites in the last 60 days. I've been experimenting with it on Workbench and like the results....

As technology reaches mass adoption, the technical details that matter so much to dorks like me fade into the background. This is already beginning to happen with syndication, in spite of several years of "tastes great/less filling" between advocates of different formats....

...The use of a common icon and jargon-free language like 'subscribe to a feed' have the potential to make things considerably easier." [Workbench]

I point this out mainly because there does seem to be a movement towards using this icon Syndication icon, so it's something libraries need to be aware of. If you're currently offering RSS, you should consider using this icon since we hope to standardize on it and you'll want to use something that your users see elsewhere, especially in their web browsers. I'll be changing the buttons on TSL to reflect this.

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