RSS feeds for non-geeks

1 Sep 2006 - 5:43am
8 years ago
13 replies
698 reads
Diego Moya
2005

On 16/01/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <mmbeta en gmail.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> I've been thinking lately baout RSS feeds. From what I can tell, they seem
> to only be used by 1-5% of the connected world, and I've been imagining what
> could be done to make RSS more accessible to the average non-geek computer
> user and make RSS more popular.

Much has been said already in this thread about the subscription
process, but less about the problem of actually consuming the
suscribed information.

I just came across a RSS aggregator developed by the people at Raskin
Center for Humane Interfaces - the Humanized Reader. Their main
design goal is that reading an aggregator be as simple as reading a
blog.

http://www.humanized.com/reader/

Unfortunately, they have a fixed choice of news feeds - it doesn't
allow creation of user accouns (yet?).

Comments

1 Sep 2006 - 7:53am
niklasw
2005

Hi Robert, Interesting thougths.

Just for further refrence. I consider myself belong to the geek crowd
you refer to but after after trying to adopt RSS for several years I
didnt find a satisfying way of doing it until I started to use flocks
built in aggregator with auto discover and, well.. two-click
subscription functionality. 'Yet another application' to start up just
dont ring my bell.

Secondly I'd like to point out SonyEricssons exellent implementation
of RSS functionality in their webbrowser/RSS-reader on their latest
mobile phones (I've tried the K800i) which has built in auto discover
and aggregation. Personally I think mobile devices is a superb place
for readeing aggregated news as bandwith and screen real estate are
big issues there.

I wish I had a simlarly simple solution on my Nokia phone.

--N

On 1/16/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <mmbeta at gmail.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> I've been thinking lately baout RSS feeds. From what I can tell, they seem
> to only be used by 1-5% of the connected world, and I've been imagining what
> could be done to make RSS more accessible to the average non-geek computer
> user and make RSS more popular.
>
> The following is purely hypothetical. Just ideas to see how it could be done
> in a perfect world.
>
> 1) I think the addition of a standalone RSS aggregator to a suite like MS
> Office could do a lot. I'm not usually one to trust MS with the ability to
> create intuitive applications (so that users could easily see the purpose
> and usage of an aggregator), but the sheer ubiquity of Office could at least
> raise interest and usage of RSS.
>
> 2) I think a friendlier name is in order. "RSS" just doesn't mean anything
> to non-geeks who barely associate three-letter acronyms as file extensions.
> Maybe something like "LiveUpdate" would make it friendlier and more
> meaningful.
>
> 3) Getting away from Office: If an RSS aggregator was built into each
> browser, a better version of what Safari has now, it would be fantastic for
> a user to be able to click the link to the feed, and automatically subscribe
> to it without ever having to see a page full of XML. Safari does this pretty
> well - it displays an "RSS" button in the Address bar any time you're on a
> page that links to a feed. This would be great, because then we wouldn't
> even have to include RSS links in our pages. We would just set it up and
> browsers would auto-discover it.
>
> As far as what can actually be done now, what do you think best practices
> might be? I think, at the very least, we could be displaying the actual URLs
> for feeds on a separate page (the landing page from the RSS link), and
> instructing users to copy/paste the URL into their aggregator. this way, no
> one ever has to see the XML.
>
> But the fact that it's called "RSS", and that non-geeks have no idea what it
> is, let alone have software for it, means that regardless of what we do now,
> it may never gain mainstream popularity.
>
> Thoughts?
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
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>

16 Jan 2006 - 1:02pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

I've been thinking lately baout RSS feeds. From what I can tell, they seem
to only be used by 1-5% of the connected world, and I've been imagining what
could be done to make RSS more accessible to the average non-geek computer
user and make RSS more popular.

The following is purely hypothetical. Just ideas to see how it could be done
in a perfect world.

1) I think the addition of a standalone RSS aggregator to a suite like MS
Office could do a lot. I'm not usually one to trust MS with the ability to
create intuitive applications (so that users could easily see the purpose
and usage of an aggregator), but the sheer ubiquity of Office could at least
raise interest and usage of RSS.

2) I think a friendlier name is in order. "RSS" just doesn't mean anything
to non-geeks who barely associate three-letter acronyms as file extensions.
Maybe something like "LiveUpdate" would make it friendlier and more
meaningful.

3) Getting away from Office: If an RSS aggregator was built into each
browser, a better version of what Safari has now, it would be fantastic for
a user to be able to click the link to the feed, and automatically subscribe
to it without ever having to see a page full of XML. Safari does this pretty
well - it displays an "RSS" button in the Address bar any time you're on a
page that links to a feed. This would be great, because then we wouldn't
even have to include RSS links in our pages. We would just set it up and
browsers would auto-discover it.

As far as what can actually be done now, what do you think best practices
might be? I think, at the very least, we could be displaying the actual URLs
for feeds on a separate page (the landing page from the RSS link), and
instructing users to copy/paste the URL into their aggregator. this way, no
one ever has to see the XML.

But the fact that it's called "RSS", and that non-geeks have no idea what it
is, let alone have software for it, means that regardless of what we do now,
it may never gain mainstream popularity.

Thoughts?

-r-

16 Jan 2006 - 6:09pm
mariaromera
2005

Robert,

Yes. Brilliant! Thank you :)

As someone who learned to write HTML in a shell and then went far away from web for the past 10 years, I can't even keep up with web developments anymore... so I'm sure Joe User with no technical background is completely baffled by this.

In particular I like your suggestion of just clicking a button to add the RSS feed. I've come across things that seemed interesting, but never added a feed because I couldn't figure it out in 60 seconds (um, yes, it's XML, what should I do with it?) and wasn't motivated enough to spend any more time than that on it.

"LiveUpdate" or perhaps even "Live Feed" (feed doesn't seem scary, but maybe that's just me) would also help bring it to a less technical level.

Keep going with that thought...

Cheers,
Maria

From: "Robert Hoekman, Jr." <mmbeta at gmail.com>
To: discuss at ixda.org
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 11:02:06 -0700
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] RSS feeds for non-geeks

I've been thinking lately baout RSS feeds. From what I can tell, they seem
to only be used by 1-5% of the connected world, and I've been imagining what
could be done to make RSS more accessible to the average non-geek computer
user and make RSS more popular.

The following is purely hypothetical. Just ideas to see how it could be done
in a perfect world.

1) I think the addition of a standalone RSS aggregator to a suite like MS
Office could do a lot. I'm not usually one to trust MS with the ability to
create intuitive applications (so that users could easily see the purpose
and usage of an aggregator), but the sheer ubiquity of Office could at least
raise interest and usage of RSS.

2) I think a friendlier name is in order. "RSS" just doesn't mean anything
to non-geeks who barely associate three-letter acronyms as file extensions.
Maybe something like "LiveUpdate" would make it friendlier and more
meaningful.

3) Getting away from Office: If an RSS aggregator was built into each
browser, a better version of what Safari has now, it would be fantastic for
a user to be able to click the link to the feed, and automatically subscribe
to it without ever having to see a page full of XML. Safari does this pretty
well - it displays an "RSS" button in the Address bar any time you're on a
page that links to a feed. This would be great, because then we wouldn't
even have to include RSS links in our pages. We would just set it up and
browsers would auto-discover it.

As far as what can actually be done now, what do you think best practices
might be? I think, at the very least, we could be displaying the actual URLs
for feeds on a separate page (the landing page from the RSS link), and
instructing users to copy/paste the URL into their aggregator. this way, no
one ever has to see the XML.

But the fact that it's called "RSS", and that non-geeks have no idea what it
is, let alone have software for it, means that regardless of what we do now,
it may never gain mainstream popularity.

Thoughts?

-r-

---------------------------------
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Got holiday prints? See all the ways to get quality prints in your hands ASAP.

16 Jan 2006 - 7:17pm
Gabriel White
2005

For naming, don't forget the second word in the name "RSS Feed". I
think people understand "News Feeds" and it's probably more evocative
than something like LiveUpdate.

For access, autodiscovery is definitely a good approach. There's also
the (admittedly poorly supported) "feed://" URI that should
automagically push through to your aggregator of choice. Better
support all round for this standard would be useful.

And there's also the new feed icon standard initiative that is
rampaging through the blog world as of a few weeks ago -
www.feedicons.com. This fire was lit by no other than MSFT.

Gabe

www.smallsurfaces.com - mobile interaction design resources

On 1/17/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <mmbeta at gmail.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
> I've been thinking lately baout RSS feeds. From what I can tell, they seem
> to only be used by 1-5% of the connected world, and I've been imagining what
> could be done to make RSS more accessible to the average non-geek computer
> user and make RSS more popular.
>
> The following is purely hypothetical. Just ideas to see how it could be done
> in a perfect world.
>
> 1) I think the addition of a standalone RSS aggregator to a suite like MS
> Office could do a lot. I'm not usually one to trust MS with the ability to
> create intuitive applications (so that users could easily see the purpose
> and usage of an aggregator), but the sheer ubiquity of Office could at least
> raise interest and usage of RSS.
>
> 2) I think a friendlier name is in order. "RSS" just doesn't mean anything
> to non-geeks who barely associate three-letter acronyms as file extensions.
> Maybe something like "LiveUpdate" would make it friendlier and more
> meaningful.
>
> 3) Getting away from Office: If an RSS aggregator was built into each
> browser, a better version of what Safari has now, it would be fantastic for
> a user to be able to click the link to the feed, and automatically subscribe
> to it without ever having to see a page full of XML. Safari does this pretty
> well - it displays an "RSS" button in the Address bar any time you're on a
> page that links to a feed. This would be great, because then we wouldn't
> even have to include RSS links in our pages. We would just set it up and
> browsers would auto-discover it.
>
> As far as what can actually be done now, what do you think best practices
> might be? I think, at the very least, we could be displaying the actual URLs
> for feeds on a separate page (the landing page from the RSS link), and
> instructing users to copy/paste the URL into their aggregator. this way, no
> one ever has to see the XML.
>
> But the fact that it's called "RSS", and that non-geeks have no idea what it
> is, let alone have software for it, means that regardless of what we do now,
> it may never gain mainstream popularity.
>
> Thoughts?
>
> -r-
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

16 Jan 2006 - 7:28pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

How odd (the FeedIcons thing). It does mean geting rid of those awful XML
and RSS icons (good), but it doesn't improve the accessibility of the name,
or give any hint as to what it's supposed to mean (bad).

If that's considered exciting news in the RSS world, it may be a long, long
time before it hits mainstream. :)

-r-

On 1/16/06, Gabriel White <gabrielwhite at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> For naming, don't forget the second word in the name "RSS Feed". I
> think people understand "News Feeds" and it's probably more evocative
> than something like LiveUpdate.
>
> For access, autodiscovery is definitely a good approach. There's also
> the (admittedly poorly supported) "feed://" URI that should
> automagically push through to your aggregator of choice. Better
> support all round for this standard would be useful.
>
> And there's also the new feed icon standard initiative that is
> rampaging through the blog world as of a few weeks ago -
> www.feedicons.com. This fire was lit by no other than MSFT.
>
> Gabe
>
> www.smallsurfaces.com - mobile interaction design resources
>
>
> On 1/17/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <mmbeta at gmail.com> wrote:
> > [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
> >
> > I've been thinking lately baout RSS feeds. From what I can tell, they
> seem
> > to only be used by 1-5% of the connected world, and I've been imagining
> what
> > could be done to make RSS more accessible to the average non-geek
> computer
> > user and make RSS more popular.
> >
> > The following is purely hypothetical. Just ideas to see how it could be
> done
> > in a perfect world.
> >
> > 1) I think the addition of a standalone RSS aggregator to a suite like
> MS
> > Office could do a lot. I'm not usually one to trust MS with the ability
> to
> > create intuitive applications (so that users could easily see the
> purpose
> > and usage of an aggregator), but the sheer ubiquity of Office could at
> least
> > raise interest and usage of RSS.
> >
> > 2) I think a friendlier name is in order. "RSS" just doesn't mean
> anything
> > to non-geeks who barely associate three-letter acronyms as file
> extensions.
> > Maybe something like "LiveUpdate" would make it friendlier and more
> > meaningful.
> >
> > 3) Getting away from Office: If an RSS aggregator was built into each
> > browser, a better version of what Safari has now, it would be fantastic
> for
> > a user to be able to click the link to the feed, and automatically
> subscribe
> > to it without ever having to see a page full of XML. Safari does this
> pretty
> > well - it displays an "RSS" button in the Address bar any time you're on
> a
> > page that links to a feed. This would be great, because then we wouldn't
> > even have to include RSS links in our pages. We would just set it up and
> > browsers would auto-discover it.
> >
> > As far as what can actually be done now, what do you think best
> practices
> > might be? I think, at the very least, we could be displaying the actual
> URLs
> > for feeds on a separate page (the landing page from the RSS link), and
> > instructing users to copy/paste the URL into their aggregator. this way,
> no
> > one ever has to see the XML.
> >
> > But the fact that it's called "RSS", and that non-geeks have no idea
> what it
> > is, let alone have software for it, means that regardless of what we do
> now,
> > it may never gain mainstream popularity.
> >
> > Thoughts?
> >
> > -r-
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
>

16 Jan 2006 - 8:58pm
Robert Brown
2006

To comment on the usability of RSS. I just recently finished a study on
the usability of RSS and one clients design approach for subscribing to
feeds.

Here are some take away's

1. The standardized icon (http://www.feedicons.com) did not fair well,
user comments were all along the lines of broadcast, transmit, sync,
wi-fi and radio.

2. Labels: Feed, RSS, etc... People did not initially understand these
terms, some had heard of RSS, seen it on sites, that's about it. They
were looking for subscribe or an icon like the [+] my yahoo

3. On a positive note, once the concept was understood, people fell in
love with it... They all recognized the usefulness, and I would bet that
there were a few who went home to show off what they learned.

4. The design for the study included a one click method for subscribing
to feed/RSS content. User goes to a page with a feed available, a
notification appears with the option "subscribe to feed", icon
highlights... People got it.

My main take are, There is a deal of education that needs to take place
in the market, but this education is simple awareness of what a feed is,
and what people can do with it. Sites like www.cnn.com, www.npr.org,
www.nyt.com have examples of this information, but more needs to be
done. If your going to use feeds, you need to explain what it is.

The other is that copying & pasting URL's is not a solution... URL's are
messy... People should not have to do this.

I don't think RSS is not that far from hitting the mainstream, It has
been behind the scenes of the mainstream for quite sometime. People saw
the value quickly... We did some test of subscribing Classified
listings. People really saw the value with this.

16 Jan 2006 - 10:23pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

Thanks for the excellent feedback.

I agree that no one should have to copy/paste a URL, but so far, I
haven't seen any site handle it more effectively. I'll have to take a
look at CNN and NYTimes and such to see if I'm missing something. So
far, every time I've subscribed to a feed, I've had to copy/paste a
URL, usually while staring at the actual XML.

I'd like very much to come up with a friendlier approach. Can you
elaborate on how your client created the one-click solution? You said
"User goes to a page with a feed available, a notification appears
with the option "subscribe to feed", icon
highlights... People got it."

Can you explain what happens once the user clicks on the icon?

-r-

On 1/16/06, Robert Brown <Robert.Brown at avenuea-razorfish.com> wrote:
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
>
>
> To comment on the usability of RSS. I just recently finished a study on
> the usability of RSS and one clients design approach for subscribing to
> feeds.
>
> Here are some take away's
>
> 1. The standardized icon (http://www.feedicons.com) did not fair well,
> user comments were all along the lines of broadcast, transmit, sync,
> wi-fi and radio.
>
> 2. Labels: Feed, RSS, etc... People did not initially understand these
> terms, some had heard of RSS, seen it on sites, that's about it. They
> were looking for subscribe or an icon like the [+] my yahoo
>
> 3. On a positive note, once the concept was understood, people fell in
> love with it... They all recognized the usefulness, and I would bet that
> there were a few who went home to show off what they learned.
>
> 4. The design for the study included a one click method for subscribing
> to feed/RSS content. User goes to a page with a feed available, a
> notification appears with the option "subscribe to feed", icon
> highlights... People got it.
>
> My main take are, There is a deal of education that needs to take place
> in the market, but this education is simple awareness of what a feed is,
> and what people can do with it. Sites like www.cnn.com, www.npr.org,
> www.nyt.com have examples of this information, but more needs to be
> done. If your going to use feeds, you need to explain what it is.
>
> The other is that copying & pasting URL's is not a solution... URL's are
> messy... People should not have to do this.
>
> I don't think RSS is not that far from hitting the mainstream, It has
> been behind the scenes of the mainstream for quite sometime. People saw
> the value quickly... We did some test of subscribing Classified
> listings. People really saw the value with this.
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
>

16 Jan 2006 - 10:42pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

CNN wins hands down. :) I never use MyYahoo, as it's yet another start
page that starts by cramming a bunch of crap I don't want down my
throat, but I love that it was just a couple of clicks to subscribe to
a feed and add it to MyYahoo, and I never had to see XML or copy and
paste anything. Of course, I did have to know I wanted to click on the
little RSS icon, and then be willing to see what clicking the MyYahoo
button would do.

Still, it's well done. At the very least, it shows the potential of RSS.

-r-

On 1/16/06, Robert Hoekman, Jr. <mmbeta at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks for the excellent feedback.
>
> I agree that no one should have to copy/paste a URL, but so far, I
> haven't seen any site handle it more effectively. I'll have to take a
> look at CNN and NYTimes and such to see if I'm missing something. So
> far, every time I've subscribed to a feed, I've had to copy/paste a
> URL, usually while staring at the actual XML.
>
> I'd like very much to come up with a friendlier approach. Can you
> elaborate on how your client created the one-click solution? You said
> "User goes to a page with a feed available, a notification appears
> with the option "subscribe to feed", icon
> highlights... People got it."
>
> Can you explain what happens once the user clicks on the icon?
>
> -r-
>
>
> On 1/16/06, Robert Brown <Robert.Brown at avenuea-razorfish.com> wrote:
> > [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]
> >
> >
> > To comment on the usability of RSS. I just recently finished a study on
> > the usability of RSS and one clients design approach for subscribing to
> > feeds.
> >
> > Here are some take away's
> >
> > 1. The standardized icon (http://www.feedicons.com) did not fair well,
> > user comments were all along the lines of broadcast, transmit, sync,
> > wi-fi and radio.
> >
> > 2. Labels: Feed, RSS, etc... People did not initially understand these
> > terms, some had heard of RSS, seen it on sites, that's about it. They
> > were looking for subscribe or an icon like the [+] my yahoo
> >
> > 3. On a positive note, once the concept was understood, people fell in
> > love with it... They all recognized the usefulness, and I would bet that
> > there were a few who went home to show off what they learned.
> >
> > 4. The design for the study included a one click method for subscribing
> > to feed/RSS content. User goes to a page with a feed available, a
> > notification appears with the option "subscribe to feed", icon
> > highlights... People got it.
> >
> > My main take are, There is a deal of education that needs to take place
> > in the market, but this education is simple awareness of what a feed is,
> > and what people can do with it. Sites like www.cnn.com, www.npr.org,
> > www.nyt.com have examples of this information, but more needs to be
> > done. If your going to use feeds, you need to explain what it is.
> >
> > The other is that copying & pasting URL's is not a solution... URL's are
> > messy... People should not have to do this.
> >
> > I don't think RSS is not that far from hitting the mainstream, It has
> > been behind the scenes of the mainstream for quite sometime. People saw
> > the value quickly... We did some test of subscribing Classified
> > listings. People really saw the value with this.
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > List Guidelines ............ http://listguide.ixda.org/
> > List Help .................. http://listhelp.ixda.org/
> > (Un)Subscription Options ... http://subscription-options.ixda.org/
> > Announcements List ......... http://subscribe-announce.ixda.org/
> > Questions .................. lists at ixda.org
> > Home ....................... http://ixda.org/
> > Resource Library ........... http://resources.ixda.org
> >
>

17 Jan 2006 - 12:08am
Andy
2005

> I agree that no one should have to copy/paste a URL, but so far, I
> haven't seen any site handle it more effectively. I'll have to take a
> look at CNN and NYTimes and such to see if I'm missing something. So
> far, every time I've subscribed to a feed, I've had to copy/paste a
> URL, usually while staring at the actual XML.
>
> I'd like very much to come up with a friendlier approach. Can you
> elaborate on how your client created the one-click solution? You said
> "User goes to a page with a feed available, a notification appears
> with the option "subscribe to feed", icon
> highlights... People got it."

I use IE7 beta for looking for feeds/RSS. It has a discover feeds option
under tools, gives you a list of all feeds on that page. It's pretty good
because it does it when the page loads, so no need to wait to see what is
there.

The big stupid thing about RSS is you have to bookmark the page or go to the
url to get the news feed. So why not just go to the main web site and read
it anyhow.

For me, syndicated sites (is really what they are) allow people on 'other'
websites to relay that news. So it's a way of marking territory on the web -
so long as you can talk people into linking to your feed.

For those that have to deal with a lot of information - an RSS reader would
be a better option to use rather than a web browser.

16 Jan 2006 - 11:19pm
Robert Hoekman, Jr.
2005

> I use IE7 beta for looking for feeds/RSS. It has a discover feeds option
> under tools, gives you a list of all feeds on that page. It's pretty good
> because it does it when the page loads, so no need to wait to see what is
> there.

Interesting. I'll have to try that out. I'm sort of anti-IE, so it's
unlikely I'd keep it around, but it would be worth seeing how it
works. Is the "Discover feeds" option enabled by default?

> The big stupid thing about RSS is you have to bookmark the page or go to the
> url to get the news feed. So why not just go to the main web site and read
> it anyhow.

That's only true if you don't have an aggregator. I use the web-based
aggregator at BlogLines.com - I just add feeds to it and check it
every so oten to get all my updates in one place. I don't have to
visit all those sites - I just hit BlogLines. In many cases, I never
go to the site again.

-r-

17 Jan 2006 - 3:10am
Håkan Reis
2006

On 2006-01-16 Robert Hoekman Jr. wrote:

>1) I think the addition of a standalone RSS aggregator to a suite like MS
>Office could do a lot.

I think you are right here. I'm not that happy to have the resources online, like a web based aggregator, I'm not always connected. I use a standalone application for RSS subscriptions, that way I can read much of the news on the train.

I use Omea Reader from JetBrains (www.jetbrains.com) as the RSS aggregator. This has a discovery plug in that attaches to FireFox and IExplorer, one button subscription works well here. Using a tool like Omea also makes it possible to comment on Blogs (if it is provided) and seeing comments in a structured way. Making the feed more than news reading.

When it comes to Microsoft it turns out that they are doing a lot in the RSS area, adding (through the proper channels this time) to the RSS standard, for example a suggestion for two way subscription is underway. Making it possible to subscribe and synchronize with a calander. Also, plans for a RSS repository in Vista has been rumored. This means a single place to store the RSS feed database, consolidating your subscriptions for other apps to tap into.

>2) I think a friendlier name is in order. "RSS" just doesn't mean anything
>to non-geeks who barely associate three-letter acronyms as file extensions.
>Maybe something like "LiveUpdate" would make it friendlier and more
>meaningful.

LiveUpdate mostly ring to application updates I think. The better term is probably news subscription, at least subscription. It means something to most people. The icon that seem to emerge as standard is not that good, it seems more like a broadcast. But at least it can (in the users eyes) be considered as a news broadcast.At least it’s better than XML or RSS that as you state means nothing to most users.

>3) Getting away from Office: If an RSS aggregator was built into each
>browser

FireFox has the discovery functionality as well. It basically places the clicked link with the other bookmarks, and “dynamic” bookmarks showing up, a bit confusing. However, I have seen extensions that present this to the user in a much better way.

RSS is a great way for being updated with information. I subscribe to a lot of information and it makes it easy to keep up with news from various sources. Like having a newspaper where you put together the content and select the sources. Nowadays, I actually feel lost when I find a news/blog-like site with information I like and can’t find a way to subscribe to it.

------------------------------
Håkan Reis
Senior .NET Consultant - MCAD
Dotway AB

hakan.reis(at)dotway.se
blog.reis.se

17 Jan 2006 - 11:25am
Matt McClendon
2006

I have to agree for the most part, except for the
subscription piece. Most people associate the word
subscription with having to pay a fee. What might be
a better term? Just a simple "add to x"?

-matt mcclendon

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17 Jan 2006 - 4:42pm
Akanowicz Ron
2005

Apple already offers the click to add notion-
I use Safari and when I click the RSS icon in the address bar (that
automatically appears if a site offers a feed) the site is automatically
added to a feed reader.

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of
maria romera
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2006 6:10 PM
To: discuss at lists.interactiondesigners.com
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] RSS feeds for non-geeks

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
material.]

Robert,

Yes. Brilliant! Thank you :)

As someone who learned to write HTML in a shell and then went far away
from web for the past 10 years, I can't even keep up with web
developments anymore... so I'm sure Joe User with no technical
background is completely baffled by this.

In particular I like your suggestion of just clicking a button to add
the RSS feed. I've come across things that seemed interesting, but
never added a feed because I couldn't figure it out in 60 seconds (um,
yes, it's XML, what should I do with it?) and wasn't motivated enough
to spend any more time than that on it.

"LiveUpdate" or perhaps even "Live Feed" (feed doesn't seem scary, but
maybe that's just me) would also help bring it to a less technical
level.

Keep going with that thought...

Cheers,
Maria

From: "Robert Hoekman, Jr." <mmbeta at gmail.com>
To: discuss at ixda.org
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2006 11:02:06 -0700
Subject: [IxDA Discuss] RSS feeds for non-geeks

I've been thinking lately baout RSS feeds. From what I can tell, they
seem to only be used by 1-5% of the connected world, and I've been
imagining what could be done to make RSS more accessible to the average
non-geek computer user and make RSS more popular.

The following is purely hypothetical. Just ideas to see how it could be
done in a perfect world.

1) I think the addition of a standalone RSS aggregator to a suite like
MS Office could do a lot. I'm not usually one to trust MS with the
ability to create intuitive applications (so that users could easily see
the purpose and usage of an aggregator), but the sheer ubiquity of
Office could at least raise interest and usage of RSS.

2) I think a friendlier name is in order. "RSS" just doesn't mean
anything to non-geeks who barely associate three-letter acronyms as file
extensions.
Maybe something like "LiveUpdate" would make it friendlier and more
meaningful.

3) Getting away from Office: If an RSS aggregator was built into each
browser, a better version of what Safari has now, it would be fantastic
for a user to be able to click the link to the feed, and automatically
subscribe to it without ever having to see a page full of XML. Safari
does this pretty well - it displays an "RSS" button in the Address bar
any time you're on a page that links to a feed. This would be great,
because then we wouldn't even have to include RSS links in our pages. We
would just set it up and browsers would auto-discover it.

As far as what can actually be done now, what do you think best
practices might be? I think, at the very least, we could be displaying
the actual URLs for feeds on a separate page (the landing page from the
RSS link), and instructing users to copy/paste the URL into their
aggregator. this way, no one ever has to see the XML.

But the fact that it's called "RSS", and that non-geeks have no idea
what it is, let alone have software for it, means that regardless of
what we do now, it may never gain mainstream popularity.

Thoughts?

-r-

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