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

Thom Shannon thom at ts0.com
Thu Jun 28 07:42:41 PDT 2007

Im not advocating a name that catches all microformats, just the ones 
that are useful to someone who wants to reuse data from a webpage. hCa* 
and maybe a couple of others.

Why does this need a user facing name? Well it's going to be a very long 
time before microformats are truely ubiquitous, so websites may want to 
announce their support for this functionality. A lot of people will want 
plugins until their preferred browser catches up (I'm looking at IE) how 
do they know what plugin to get to use the data in these pages?

"This site supports Reusable Data, get a Reusable Data add-on for your 
web browser to save typing things out"

Ben Ward wrote:
> On 28 Jun 2007, at 14:40, Thom Shannon wrote:
>> I get your point, but as Alex pointed out people are interested in 
>> this microformats thing but dont want to call it that, journos are 
>> refusing to talk about it because "the term 'microformats' would only 
>> appeal to developers, and not the average reader"
> But it is impossible to have a meaningful or descriptive name that 
> catches all microformats, let alone to an ‘average reader’. I'm also 
> not sure which subset of journalists wish to write articles about the 
> data formats themselves, but whose audience would balk at a reference 
> to microformats.org.
> Anyone writing for the average user would surely be writing in the 
> context of browser functionality (as and when it ships: namely Firefox 
> 3). And when referencing the functionality of those features, it makes 
> most sense to use the terms ‘address’, ‘location’, ‘map’, ‘event’, 
> ‘appointment’, ‘contact’ or ‘business card’ and other such words. 
> That's all microformats are to end users. We provide a standardised, 
> digital form of those physical-world concepts. A journalist could 
> write ‘Firefox 3 allows you to interact with business cards and events 
> in web pages like never before, bridging the gap between the pages you 
> read and other applications’. That is surely a gazillion times better 
> than trying to encourage ‘Firefox 3 ships with support for Hyper Data, 
> which allows web pages to…’.  Such a generic and meaningless term not 
> only adds nothing, but distracts from the real benefits of Microformat 
> deployment (by which I mean all the name suggestions in this thread, 
> not just my facetious overuse of the word ‘hyper’).
>> We need a way to get across to people that content can be lifted out 
>> of pages and used in useful ways, when those pages support it. And 
>> people need to call it something. Maybe it should just be "Reusable 
>> Information".
> For the people who will be putting the data in the pages — developers 
> — we have names. Yes, microformats and h* is all very techie, but 
> that's perfectly acceptable for developers.
> End-users don't need to know anything at all about _how_ or _why_ 
> their new browser functionality works, only that it's an awesome new 
> feature that's going to improve their life.
> Who is the group in the middle that this wooly new terminology is 
> going to serve? I don't see it.
> Ben
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