Thursday, September 21, 2006

RSS Usability Problems And Solutions

The history of RSS and usability problems with no standardization ...

"RSS is a family of web-feed formats that is used for web syndication. It can also be used by news websites, weblogs and podcasting, among others.

The acronym can refer to various standards such as Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0), Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91 and RSS 1.0) and the RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9 and RSS 1.0)

... One of the major problems in RSS usability is the absence of consistency in the manner of subscribing. Some sites use the RSS icon such as the orange XML icon but other sites don't have any icon but instead use words such as subscribe, feed or web-feed. There are even sites that don't have any icon or word with any link at all. Still there are sites that use different icons for RSS. One offered solution is putting a text link in very small type at the bottom of the page which may prove to be unsatisfying to say the least. Another is sticking out with the orange XML icon as it tends to stand-out and have a link next to it describing what the RSS is and how to use it. It can be very difficult when a browser starts spewing undecipherable code after clicking an orange button with an unfamiliar acronym. Apple has recently come out with the Safari to handle RSS feeds or send it off to a chosen aggregator. A look into the Safari's preferences at the RSS pane will reveal a dropdown menu for setting which application is desired as default news aggregator.

It is important to make software usable. Usability then was all about computer-human interaction and a lot of software remain as such. However, the Internet has given rise to new software that centers on the interaction between humans. This has been seen in discussion groups, social networking, on-line classified ads and of course, the e-mail which are all softwares that mediate between people. In this case, social interface is equally important."    (Continued via WebProNews)    [Usability Resources]

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