I kind of wish the Orange RSS buttons would die

If you have not seen the huge debate about the RSS Orange buttons for Windows Vista and IE7, go check it out.

I do agree with Jane in this statement.

The choice of what icon to use is challenging because it should be universally symbolic, but today there is no single icon for that represents feed. Instead there’s a variety of mostly orange rectangles with the words “XML”, “RSS”, “ATOM”, “FEED”, or “Subscribe.”

and it sounds like the Microsoft RSS team really is starting to get the i18n (internationalisation) message loud and clear.

Our goal is to make sure that the icon is something that is understandable by all of our users: novice, advanced, developer, business, international, etc. These are the principles that we are using when selecting an icon:

3. It avoids the use of text. Icons that have text do not generally work well for a global audience. For example, an icon with the text “FEED” may be cryptic to users whose primary language is non-Latin based. Text is very important to support an icon (in tool-tips or accompanying text). In English, we will be using the verb “subscribe” fairly widely whenever text is appropriate.

But I dont think there quite there with the 5 orange icons jane is presenting on the same entry. We have opted for the Orange RSS button on all our language sites across the BBC Worldservice now. There was lots of talk about changing this, for example BBC persian has the orange button which might be better written in Persian like the rest of the navigation side bar? But if you look out on to the web, you rarely find such examples to follow. I'll be interested to see what else Jane and the Microsoft RSS team come up with in the future, but I do wish the orange aspect would die away. I see RSS as more a red thing than Orange now.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.