ARCHIVE: August, 2005

Selfish Tagging

Thomas Vander Wal makes some great comments on my latest post: Technorati Tags: What Are They Really?. He points to something that has been nagging at me, that the most useful tagging being done is selfish… It’s not nagging me because it’s selfish. I’m not sure selfish is even the word, because it implies a […]

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Web Sites as DLLs

Here’s a quick analogy: In Web 2.0, web sites are like DLLs.

Each web site provides a library of functions for manipulating data. The simpler ones (the vast majority) serve semantic markup in the form of RSS/Atom. The more complex ones serve semantic markup in the form of Rest or Soap.

Participants either write DLLs or write applications that use them. Some, but not many, do both.

Use those DLLs (web sites) that make your application better. Ignore those DLLs that don’t.

What combination of DLLs will become the killer application? Recommendations

(via Noah Brier), your favorite online bookmarking tool, has added a recommendations feature.

For any tag that you have used more than 10 times, gives you recommended content that has been tagged by others. And Joshua (Schacter) has an interesting implementation. He shows you both similar tags from other people as well as similar content. Here’s my Web 2.0 recommended page.

This is a fine example of the architecture of participation.

Bray Exposes Real Problem with Feeds: They’re not one-click

Tim Bray exposes the real problem with feeds: that they aren’t one-click. However, while I agree that this is the primary problem, I don’t agree that naming is unimportant. Naming is how people learn. There is a difference between syndicate and subscribe, no matter how small. We saw this over on Brain Sparks. A seasoned RSS guy wrote in to say that he didn’t know what subscribe meant, and lost his way. He was looking for an orange button…

Nevertheless, Tim nails the main issue…it’s about making things as easy as possible for people.

Technorati Tags: What Are They Really?

Round and round we go, where we’ll stop, nobody knows! The crazy game of tags gets crazier. What are Technorati tags really? And should we use them now that categories are being indexed in the same way? Jeff Jarvis has started another good conversation about tagging over at Buzzmachine. (He started another good conversation about […]

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“Feed” Becoming Preferred Term

Richard MacManus, in his weekly recap of Web 2.0 news, reports that the word “feed” is becoming the preferred term to refer to your RSS/Atom file. This is close on the heels of the recent BayCHI meeting that left me with the sense that there is a slow consensus coming around and is similar to the syndicate/subscribe discussion we had a while back.

Update: similar discussion going on here: (via Scoble): Jim Moore has an in-depth post about RSS as brand. He compares “RSS” to “Kleenex”….odd at first but after a while it becomes the de-facto standard.

Some of you may find this stuff uninteresting and boring. I think it is important for several reasons. First, it is always good to make sure that everyone is on the same page, that when one person says “feed” the other person knows exactly what they are talking about. Second, we all learn this way, by pushing and pulling the language of something brand new. Third, when we take a higher level view of all this we can see better the areas for improvement, where we need extra work.

BayCHI Web 2.0: the Language of Web 2.0 is Solidifying

For those trying to get their head around this whole Web 2.0 thing, check out the podcast of the August BayCHI meeting titled Are you ready for Web 2.0?. The speakers at this talk are great: clear, passionate, and to the point.

I was struck by how the language around Web 2.0 is starting to solidify. In particular, Stewart Butterfield talked about “public APIs” and the “architecture of participation”. David Sifry talked about how people share their ideas and mark up others with RSS and tags. Paul Rademacher talked about “service-based apps”, making a distinction between the “data side” and the “interface side”. Of course, if you read bokardo you know that the data side (if public) is actually an interface too: an application programming interface. See Two Kinds of Interfaces in Web 2.0. And Thomas Vander Wal talks about “Come to Me” web, an interesting notion that is part of his “Personal Infocloud”. In addition, the moderator, Rashmi Sinha, has a good writeup on the move toward Web 2.0.

This podcast was really fun to listen to. Each speaker talked for ~10 minutes, which is a good length of time for a quick introduction to one main idea. The dicussion afterward was interesting, too, but a little scattered. Whether you like the term or not, this podcast will get you thinking more about Web 2.0!

A Stone Cutter’s Worst Nightmare

From David Weinberger comes a glimpse into the History of alphabetization. An interesting tidbit on the history of alphabetization, with a sliver of interface design and information architecture thrown in.

Apparently, back when papyrus scrolls were the writable interface, people left blanks in order to add items later. This, of course, is a constraint of the medium.

I bet adding future content gave stone cutters nightmares. Information architects have it easy!

Introducing UIE Brain Sparks

Brain Sparks is a blog that I’ve set up for UIE, where I work. It’s chock-full of little insights into the usability research and writing that we do. It’s also a place for conversation: we’ve turned on comments and appreciate any and all of them.

Jared Spool, Christine Perfetti, and I are the principal bloggers. We’ll be working hard to keep the site relevant and useful. So, if you’re looking for a conversation about how to create better designed, usable web sites, check out Brain Sparks.

Weekend Reading Recommendation: BBC’s Interview with Tim Berners-Lee

Meeting Tim Berners-Lee would be like meeting my equivalent of the Pope. Interviews are about as close as I can expect to get to this, so I highly recommend this BBC interview: Berners-Lee on the read/write web

Did you know that the first web browser had write capabilities?

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