[uf-discuss] microformats for normal people, like my mum

Alex Faaborg faaborg at mozilla.com
Wed Jun 27 21:17:55 PDT 2007

> For me, the question is what does the non-developer end-user  
> perceive when they see the "SmartData" icon?  How does that relate  
> to their world? It isn't about the formatting or the HTML tags...  
> Those are things that end-users don't really care about or even  
> conceptuallize.

In case anyone is curious what is going on with microformat UI design  
for Firefox 3, we are considering presenting microformatted content  
to the user with an icon in the location bar, similar to RSS (and  
possibly RSS and microformats will be grouped into a more generic  
"send data to application" icon, which was brought up in a different  
thread on microformats-discuss):


Additionally, when the user hovers the mouse over an area of the page  
that contains microformatted content, we will change the cursor to  
display the associated application (or a generic icon if no default  
has been selected):


The mouse cursor change will also hopefully apply to file types and  
protocols (mailto:, webcal:, etc.)

> I've thought about this before...I can see the specific microformats,
> like hCard and hCal and hReview being public facing...and, in reality,
> these are pretty descriptive.

In our designs we avoid showing the user the microformat name, and  
focus on the associated application.  Instead of seeing "geo" or  
"adr" the user will only see "Google Earth" (or a generic picture of  
a globe if they haven't chosen an application yet, probably on  
microformat green).

Due to privacy concerns the browser can't expose the user's default  
applications to Web sites, so I think Web developers should be  
encouraged to design based on actions, not data.  A green button that  
says "Send to Calendar" is considerably more useable than a green  
button that says "hCal" (actually these are often red for some  
reason, http://microformats.org/wiki/icons).  Also, I personally  
think Web designers should be encouraged to use images instead of  
acronyms.  In addition to being more descriptive, they localize  
better.  Here are some I've been showing in various talks:



On Jun 27, 2007, at 6:14 PM, Paul Wilkins wrote:

> From: "Tara Hunt" <tara at citizenagency.com>
>> Personally, I'd love it all to be invisible and have more tools for
>> non-expert content producers to input plain text into stuff that  
>> spits
>> out properly marked up pages and other tools (like browsers and plug
>> ins and sites) that consume these well-marked up pages properly.
> This means that the tools people use to create their web pages will  
> need to provide a mechanism for them to add microformat data to  
> their content, without necessarily having to dig into the code.
> So, first steps.
> Select an area of text to be used as an hCard and click an hCard  
> button
> When an hCard area of text is defined, buttons become available to  
> define different sections
> Select text to be the persons name and click a name button
> - if the name appears to be parsable as a fn, ask if the given name  
> is one of a series of example formats
> - if the name isn't a correct format, let them pick and choose  
> which parts are what
> Select phone number and click a phone number button
> - if an appropriate type is not included with the selected phone  
> number, but one is nearby, ask if that should be included as the type
>> It should look like magic. What's that Arthur C. Clarke quote about
>> technology and magic?
> it's not rocket science that we're doing here, it's tougher -  
> usability for the masses.
> -- 
> Paul Wilkins
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