Fri 14 Jul
Following up on a May blog post I wrote about revising our feed icons at NYTimes.com, we’ve since implemented the slightly altered version of the emerging standard for the visual indication of XML-based content subscriptions. They’ve been propagated to many areas of the site, though not all of the old ones have yet been removed.
Though it’s not clearly in evidence, I actually did take to heart some of the feedback garnered by that post which suggested that NYTimes.com should be looking to simplify our feed offerings rather than continuing to provide feeds in multiple, potentially confusing flavors (e.g., Atom, RSS 1.0, RSS 2.0, etc.). Ideally, we’ll soon do a bit of fine-tuning for our entire RSS/XML offering, but that’s a discussion for sometime in the (hopefully) not too distant future.
My immediate concern was replacing the old icon style with a new one that’s more in keeping — however imperfectly — with today’s visual language for this kind of content. However, we just couldn’t get around the need to append some sort of label to the buttons, and to call more attention to them than the icons are able to do on their own. So we went with this modified version.
I’ve been thinking about whether to offer a downloadable ZIP archive containing the template for these icons, and I’m on the fence about it. On the one hand, I think it’s only appropriate to make these icons available for others to use because all we did really was modify an original that’s in the public domain.
On the other hand, I have to admit that I’m a little uneasy about the fact that we essentially modified something that, by its nature, isn’t intended to be modified. In some sense, you could argue that we’re doing a disservice to the whole effort behind these icons by modifying them. To then distribute a template for that unsanctioned modification seems like it would do more damage… Am I just overreacting here?