RSS icons

RSS (and Atom, etc) feeds haven’t hit the mainstream non-geek community yet, but they seem destined to be the Next Big Thing, with it becoming easier to use in the current version of Firefox and Safari, and the next version of IE.

The Microsoft dudes are pondering how to represent feeds. And of course, inevitably whatever they come up with will eventually become the defacto standard walloping via sheer numbers of users, other established icons such as the Firefox Live Bookmark icon, and the XML and RSS buttons. It would seem that the only thing they all have in common is the orange.

Dave Winer says just use the XML icon. Not that the average person in the street knows what XML (or RSS) is, or what it means, or what it can do for them. (Then again, they may not know what HTTP or HTML are, or what they mean, but they do have an inkling it’s got something to do with web pages.)

XML and RSS markings are established on web sites, but they’re not ideal for new users, for whom an icon might work better. I’m torn between them. But I like the idea of adapting existing ideas, so I’ve come up with a few concepts, using a wider version of the Firefox Live Bookmark icon:

XML — XML

XML — RSS

XML — Hey hey, both XML and RSS. But would it be too distracting, being animated like that?

Is Feed more appropriate? But what about non-English users? Does the graphic actually work? Do people recognise it?

hmmm. More thought required. And as Ed Bott points out, what happens when someone goes and clicks on one of these buttons at the moment is far from ideal. DocType? WTF?

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