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

Andy Mabbett andy at pigsonthewing.org.uk
Thu Jun 28 02:37:11 PDT 2007

In message <5171D083-9DE4-40B8-9A74-8ABC5697A20A at mozilla.com>, Alex 
Faaborg <faaborg at mozilla.com> writes

>microformat UI design  for Firefox 3

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

Firstly, your URLs aren't wrapping properly, in my mail client., Others' 
do. Is there anything you can do to fix that, or perhaps you could also 
use TinyURL or similar?

I hope that that behaviour will be user-configurable, so that it can be 
switched off if desired (I do think it should be on by default, to raise 

>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 

That default colour should change, if there's a green/ yellow/ blue 
background (for reasons of contrast) or a red background (red-green 
colour blindness is the most common type).

>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, 

Be aware also that WCAG and other accessibility guidelines speak against 
using colour alone to convey information.

>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:

Those look good, but I'd like to see them at the size at which they will 
be used.

The "contact" icon is good for a person, but what of the subject is a 
group, organisation, or venue? (differentiated by "fn org" instead of 
"fn")? A different icon should be used.

Andy Mabbett

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