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Promoting the FeedIcon Thursday 2006-02-16

In an earlier post I wrote about the suggestion for a new icon, signalling the presence of a feed on a web site or blog. Today I got a mail from my subscribed stream at Matt Bretts FeedIcon, stating that “Opera has adopted the feed icon.” That’s confirmed in a post with the happy title “Making love to the new feed icon” at the Opera Dektop Teme’s blog.

Good news!
I think they got it rolling irresistibly towards a standard way of signalling a feed, often referred to as an RSS stream or RSS feed. With Microsoft on board and with Opera on the Bandwagon together with Firefox I believe it will roll.

Much discussion remains of course and in the long list of comments ( 102 as I write ) to Matt’s announcement, not everyone is happy. I think the arguments against the icon are fairly week though.
The oldest protest about new standard is that we already have that little hard to read orange rectangle with RSS on it. The problem is that there are lots of different buttons with as many messages, telling us which type of message encoding is used. There is no standard, even if the RSS button was a nice try – I kind of liked it! The argument is slanted against the not-invented-here syndrome.

The FeedIcon is clear and we’ll be used to see it all over the web, as well as in software and mobile devices. And we will recognize it.

Another argument is that it looks like a symbol for wireless communication, while others associate sound sound. Like one of the commenter I rather saw it as radio waves from an antenna, a broadcast, which comes close to what it is.

Matt suggests the recoloring of the icon to adapt to different web and blog color schemes, and facilitates this by offering multiple image formats and also some advice. He writes:

“Customizing the icon can be done one of 2 ways. If you’re familiar with Illustrator, definitely use it to manual edit the colours. It’s easy enough – there’s 2 strokes and a 3-tone gradient, that’s it. If you’re not an Illustrator user, you can use the PSDs and the Color Overlay layer style to add colour to the gray scale versions. As you can see from the examples to the left, the Illustrator method comes out cleaner with more variation in colour. But if you’re going with a smaller version, you can hardly notice a difference. Instructions are included in the readme file.”

Understandably there are arguments against this too. The orange color is easily recognizable and immediately draw attention to the feed, even at small size. Other colors would break the standard ( which isn’t yet ) and possibly stall the proliferation and stall the campaign. Anonymous says:
Why on earth would you encourage people to change the color?!?!?!

And Brian G. goes on to say:

“changing the color doesn’t exactly make it much of a standard…”

The answer to this, is that the graphics itself is so special and significant, that people will recognize it regardless of the color. I think that the possibility to change the color in a fairly simple way, will make it easier to get acceptance for the FeedIcon. Designers and their customers tend to be very picky on what colors go into their designs, and the possibility to make the icon fit in is a good argument to use it.

On this blog the orange doesn’t really match the overall look and feel, but I use it anyway. I’m not that picky (yet ;), and I have still not settled with the design or the colors. Soon as I could lay a hand on the icon I put it on top of my blog feeds.

Standard is a good thing – everyone should have one

B wildered!

Oh, by the way – I couldn’t help myself, so if you have an SVG enable browser ( FireFox or any browser with an SVG plugin, you can have a look at my “Shameless Promotion of the FeedIcon“. Don’t forget to resize your browser window!


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