[uf-discuss] Microformats.org usability review

Tantek Ç elik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Wed Feb 1 19:34:00 PST 2006

On 2/1/06 6:53 PM, "Ryan King" <ryan at technorati.com> wrote:

>> === Homepage (http://microformats.org) ===
>> ...
> Granted. A common criticism of http://microformats.org/ is that its
> too 'spec-y.'
> Writing specs is necessary, but, of course, not sufficient.

One must definitely start somewhere.

One of the reasons we have the process page is to answer the question of
"what do I do next?" when developing a microformat.

Perhaps a tutorial would be a good page to add to that, after all the

> I'm not opposed to having tutorials and more beginner-friendly
> material on http://microformats.org, but AFAICT, those sorts of
> things don't write themselves.


In fact, if folks either want to write tutorials, or want tutorials on
anything in particular, please add them to the to-do page:


> http://microformats.org/about/people/ is out-of-date and most
> certainly always will be. It might be better just to kill it.

I have to disagree on this point.  I think it is quite useful from the point
of view of here are the folks that have contributed significant time and
effort, even *before* there was a microformats.org.  Perhaps we need to just
edit the prose/headlines to reflect that.

>> === Discuss (http://microformats.org/discuss/) ===
>> A spartan section, but very useful and well presented. Could
>> potentially be more friendly and inviting? I know the notion of
>> "community" is overused, but might still be a good idea to  reflect it
>> here somehow.
> "community" *is* overused and *ambiguous*. I'm willing to improve
> this section, but I'm not hearing any actionably suggestions.

+1 on what Ryan said.

>> === Code (http://microformats.org/code/ ===
>> Possibly useful to some people, but really doesn't have a lot to offer
>> in comparison with the information on the wiki. and is very skewed in
>> favour of XFN.

Feel free to make specific suggestions of what other code examples you would
like to see.

>> I also find the labelling of this section slightly
>> confusing, in that I would never expect a non-programmer to think that
>> the term "Code" is aimed at them, yet the links on this page are
>> generally of interest to non-programmers.

I think that's mostly a coincidence, since the code provided is often in the
form of a usable tool.

>> "Tools" might be a more
>> accurate description, which doesn't scare off those who are tech savy,
>> but don't consider themselves hard-core coders.

It would be less accurate, because it would not reflect the purpose and
intent of the section, which is to provide open source for developers.

> Well, the plans for the section have included more diverse sorts of
> things. Unfortunately, we haven't gotten that part of the site moving
> very quickly.


I'm wondering if this is an area that Chris Messina's CivicForge ideas could
help out.

Or perhaps we should simply point to source code repositories elsewhere like

>> === Analysis & Suggestions ===
>> ...
>> So why do smart people continue to miss this?
> People don't read.

It's worse than that.  Even when told to do so, people don't read.

I had one person ask me *three* times why their all lowercase username
attempts were not working, even when I told them to go read the FAQ which
answers this common problem right at the beginning.

I haven't come up with a good way of dealing with this and am open to

>> A "Get Started Now" link would be a great compliment or replacement
>> for the existing "Find Out More" link, acting as a subtle call to
>> action, and communicating to readers that they can potentially
>> implement one or several microformats with their existing content in a
>> matter of minutes.
> I'd love to link to something like that from the homepage, but it
> doesn't exist. Write it, and it shall be linked.

Even just add the request to the to-do page.

Again, maintaining/managing this kind of thing in email doesn't
scale/archive/search/track well.

Use the wiki for capturing concrete suggestions, issues etc.

Use email and irc for notification and questions.



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