One Icon for All Feeds?

Recently on the IE Blog they announced that they were going to use the same feed icon that Firefox uses. I think that using the icon in IE7 will be great for users and to at least get some consistency between the various browsers. To take it a step further, Matt Brett developed a site for promoting the new icon. I think that it is a great site that can have some influence for others to adopt the icon in their technologies.

The one concern that I have has to do with visibility of what it stands for. Yes, I know what it means, but I am am a syndication whore. But, will my Dad know what it means? It is people like my Dad who, in my opinion, we should be worried about. We should be worrying about those who are new to syndication and have no clue what it is or what it is about. The icon should make it easier for them, not more difficult.

Personally, I don’t think that Real Simple Syndication or Atom is ubiquitous enough yet to go from to . I think that the new icon should be incorporated into how syndication is presented on the web, but not completely replace it. Not yet. Over time, as syndication becomes more ubiquitous, I think that it might be able to be used on it’s own. But, I just don’t think that we’re at the point yet in web syndication to let the icon speak for itself. We still have people like my Dad who don’t know what the current icons mean.

2 thoughts on “One Icon for All Feeds?”

  1. Personally, I just faced this debacle myself. I have always had a news/blog piece I wrote for my site but with the way that everyone and thier brother is providing a way to syndicate thier long, I figured what the heck, I should to.

    The truth is that I looked at symbolizing my feed several different ways, and ultimately went with a small orange XML icon because I engineered the output script to conform to stanford’s RSS XML specification. No matter how RSS evolves, the output is STILL being provided in a general XML format which should be easily usable.

    Honestly, I realize I am not in the audience that you are concerned about icon applicability, but speaking for myself, I rather feel that we are at a point where standardization can happen. I noted a little while ago when RSS was evolving, icons came out with “RSS 1.0” and “RSS x” where x is whatever they were using. That, to me, is easily acceptable and eminently usable.

    As for the teaching/trianing issue of recognizing and using feeds, perhaps a link “What is RSS?” would help? I agree that for those new to the internet or not adept with internet browsing and usage, RSS is a bit of a foreign concept.

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