From time to time, I’ve blogged about where I saw the issues in web syndication such as verbiage and roadblocks to adoption. Here I am, almost a year after that last post and even though web syndication is incredibly popular, it still amazes me how unintuitive the entire experience can be…even for web geeks like me. Let me tell you a little story.

Today at work, a fellow Boston sports fan pinged me with news of the impending Garnett trade. My only sports feed is to the Reiss’ Pieces Patriots blog, so I was a bit in the dark. I immediately went to Boston.com to get more info and decided to subscribe to the Celtics blog. So, I go to the Celtics page where I see the little feed icon in Firefox’s address bar so I know there’s a feed available. Awesome. I start looking around the page for a “subscribe” link…nowhere to be found. Do you honestly mean that I need to view the source of the page to figure out the subscription URL? I click on the link to the Celtics Blog. Ah, here I find a “subscribe” link (even though it does say “Subscribe via RSS”, which is still too geeky) but there’s no feed discovery on this page…the link in the address bar is nowhere to be found!

Now, I love my Boston.com, but this is really sad. The feed discovery tag and a link to subscribe to the feed should be on the same pages, period. I really admired Boston.com for catching on with blogs and syndicated feeds so quickly, I really hope that they can pick up on these little implementation details to make the site more usable for feed readers like myself.

Another tidbit: Wouldn’t it be great if the feed icon in the address bar could be right-clicked to get a menu with selections for “Copy feed location” and “Add to live bookmarks” along with other options? Maybe someday…

Disclaimer: Any viewpoints and opinions expressed in this article are those of Nicholas C. Zakas and do not, in any way, reflect those of my employer, my colleagues, Wrox Publishing, O'Reilly Publishing, or anyone else. I speak only for myself, not for them.

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