Making Your RSS Feed Look Pretty in a Browser
Subject:   User barrier
Date:   2005-07-02 20:51:00
From:   Chirael

Yeah, you're totally right about non-techie users clicking on the XML or RSS button and going "Um, what the hell is this?"

In fact, I posted in my blog recently asking people to check out a feed recently and someone responded with, "When I click on the link, I just get a bunch of code."

This is really pretty user unfriendly IMO and will be a barrier to widespread adoption of RSS for non-techies.

I'd like to make the XML/RSS button be a link to a page that explains RSS and has the actual links to the syndication feed files.

However, I'm afraid that others users who have things like bookmarklets will see the XML/RSS button and just hit subscribe, and their aggregators will be confused because there is no direct link to the RSS file, just to the page explaining syndication, which itself has links to the feed files.

I don't think there's a good answer, but I think the better user experience is to have the RSS/XML button link to a page explaining what syndication is for non-techies, which then has links to the actual feed files.

Just dumping people to a page full of code (data, really) is a poor user experience, even if you do make it slightly prettier (and someone who doesn't know what the data is isn't going to know what an "RSS Application" is, so that doesn't really help them).

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