Robert MacMillan over at washingtonpost.com writes an interesting article about his trials and tribulations in trying to get an rss reader and an rss feed to work (here – via micro persuasion). The poor guy downloaded 15 rss readers before he could find one that would work for more than 2 hours (he should have looked here – but I am biased as I work (unpaid) with those guys).
It is an interesting read which demonstrates that insiders can quickly become blind to simple usability and messaging issues which can actually turn into huge barriers to adoption. Here are a few from the article:
- the “RSS” label itself – not exactly a term that draws you in if you are not “in the know”…
- orange button with “XML” – what the heck do you do with that?…and clearly not a “one-click” action if you venture out and actually click on it
- “feeds” anyone?
The end result is that he finally got it to work, fell in love with it, and can no longer live without his “feeds”. But his experiences are probably not atypical for the mainstream user. As I have said before we will need to make things way easier to understand and use if this is to become broadly adopted.