Those little orange XML buttons you see on blogs and websites are becoming more prolific. They signify a link to the site’s RSS webfeed. So a quick right-click and it’s easy to add a feed, a new channel, to your RSS reader (I use FeedDemon and it’s dead easy).
For some time, I’ve had this dual graphic on my blog to show where you can get the RSS feed:
I thought the mix was good: RSS/XML so everyone who knew that XML meant RSS would be ok, and those who didn’t know XML meant RSS, but had heard about RSS, would also be ok. I also had a little text underneath saying ‘RSS webfeed.’ Sort of covering all the angles. No one would be in any doubt.
But now two things. First, two friends recently commented on this cute little graphic. Both said it was totally confusing. Second, nearly every site I’ve seen that has an RSS feed uses the orange XML button. I used to see the blue RSS one (I grabbed the one I used from some website a while ago), but I’ve not seen any at all recently.
Clearly orange is the standard colour (was it decided by a Dutchman, perhaps?). So in the interests of de-confusing anyone, I now have an orange button:
As you can see, it says RSS not XML. The acronym that’s meaningful is RSS. No one really cares what the underlying technology is or how it works (I’d better be careful in saying ‘no one,’ but you know what I mean) – you just want your news and info. If you want to subscribe to my webfeed right now, go ahead, click on the button.
The more we de-mystify the tech origins of these tools, the easier it will be for anyone to focus on what matters.
As a related aside, while searching for a nice orange RSS button, I found a post on Richard McManus’ Read/Write blog on how to do one using cascading style sheets. Beyond my current skills with a TypePad-hosted blog, but a neat alternative to a graphic.
(Written with ecto 126.96.36.199, layout and images import had to be done in the TypePad post editor and the whole thing then manually published live from TypePad. What a performance!)