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Preview: Comments on: Communicating Target Knowledge about Web Feeds

Comments on: Communicating Target Knowledge about Web Feeds

UIE\'s latest insights on the world of design

Last Build Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2018 06:34:38 +0000


By: Daniel Szuc

Mon, 19 Sep 2005 03:47:02 +0000

By: Anup Shah

Thu, 15 Sep 2005 10:16:38 +0000

I like your choice of words and approach on your subscribe page. I will probably update my own to be more user friendly and action oriented, rather than simply a boring explanation of what it all is! If someone hits the feed itself on the browser, why not use an XSL to style the content to look like your site? This gives you the ability to put content before the feed explaining to the user what they are looking at. This is what I did at (though I will probably update and improve the introductory text now, seeing your good example!)

By: Daniel Szuc

Thu, 15 Sep 2005 07:34:40 +0000

RSS has real potential. My guess it that its still way too technical for non technical folks. Questions might include: * What is RSS? What does it mean? * How can I subscribe to automatic updates via email * How do I subscribe using my browser? * How do I know content has changed without having to look revisit the bookmarked feeds?

By: Christian Watson

Wed, 14 Sep 2005 22:29:27 +0000

By the way, you might want to consider adding a preview button to your comments and let people know what sort of markup they can use in their comments - I just guessed that I would be allowed to post a link.

By: Christian Watson

Wed, 14 Sep 2005 22:27:08 +0000

It will be interesting to see what you differently than other sites. However, I would imagine that the majority of your audience are web professionals and so are aware of RSS and feeds. Therefore, I wonder if you really need to do anything more than you have already done in terms of your feed. One option you might consider, in case someone does click on your XML link, is to use the Feedburner service. They turn your feed page into something much more presentable - here's mine as an example. Plus, they provide great stats on your feed too!

By: Joshua

Wed, 14 Sep 2005 16:04:28 +0000

Hi Enric, thanks for the comments. I fixed the link to the subscribe page. Concerning eating our own dog food, I hope that to some extent we are by providing a web feed to our content. RSS and ATOM are perfect examples of the usefulness of semantic markup in action.

By: Enric Naval

Wed, 14 Sep 2005 14:49:35 +0000

(I talk about intuitivity from the 4º paragraph to the end) In the last paragraph, I meant that you could actually eat your own dog food and try to use your on semantic markup for something useful (I'm guessing that you already did, but I'm in rant mode rigth now). I have noticed that usually the fastest way to encounter problems in your own applications is forcing yourself to use them all the time. In one project I'm making right now, we are making "activitities", and each individual activity won't be considered complete until at least three different persons have individually attempted to complete them. We encounter lots of errors every time: subtle errors, big errors, ortography problems..... It's not that pages are intuitive or not, it's that they not adapted to the way of thinking of the user. People expect to find things in certain places. Also, changing the placement of something suddenly causes them to expect different things, so you have to make at least a small test again after moving just a single element to a different place, because it may be confusing users or causing them to refuse the content in the page or even refusing to scroll down just a little bit....... When users say "Oh, it's so easy" or "Oh, it's so intuitive", it's usually because a team have been making several iterations of testing to check that the page model actually corresponds to the user mental model of how the page works. We follow the Nielsen method, and it works quite well: test with 2-3 users, change design, then TEST AGAIN, change desing, test again, and so on until you are happy with the page or you run out of time or budget.

By: Enric Naval

Wed, 14 Sep 2005 14:27:15 +0000

In the RSS feed for this page, the link points to "" (notice the extra .com before suscribe), and I get a "Oops! We couldn't find this page for you." missage. The Ooops page is well designed, but, of course, the web software is uncapable of guessing that I want to suscribe. I mean, it could at least make a half-assed attempt to list a number of pages with titles similar to the one I was trying to reach. Just keeping a table with all pages on the web and making a loose search on an indexed column could do the trick. Depending on the language, you can keep a copy of the table on memory and search on that (because the page list doesn't change very often). Other improvement would be recording the most mistyped URLs and asking some human person once in a while to check what is the correct URL, so the software can suggest more accurately. Just a suggerence to improve your site. Also, it would be a nice demonstration of that web 2.0 thingie, making your website capable of helping users who have gotten lost. Maybe I would even start believing in semantic markup, if you actually manage to use that to improve the suggerences :)