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Study tests BW blog--and users say Huh?

? Get That Geekiness out of Blogs |


| Blogger takes on Land Rover, aggressively ?

July 12, 2005

Study tests BW blog--and users say Huh?

Stephen Baker

If you privately wonder what terms like RSS and trackbacks mean--but were afraid to ask... You're not alone. This study used one of the BusinessWeek blogs, Well Spent, on a focus group and found that they were mystified.

Whoever figures out how to communicate these terms, clearly and intuitively, to the hundreds of millions of Websurfers who don't blog stands to make a mint.

02:52 PM

blog technology

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? Blog Readers Confused by RSS, Trackbacks, Comments, etc. from

If you take a close look at the Well Spent blog you will see that it does not have any Add to My Yahoo!, NewsGator, Bloglines or similar buttons -- just an XML button on the left side of the page with links to several RSS feeds. Maybe if they had one o... [Read More]

Tracked on July 12, 2005 09:17 PM

? ON TECH TOO HARD OR TOO EASY from *michael parekh on IT*

A CASE OF TWO EXTREMES As a life-long tech fan and self-taught geek, it's easy sometimes to forget t [Read More]

Tracked on July 12, 2005 09:21 PM

? Usability: Well Spent Time from Changing Way

I just read a recent study of blogs and usability. Its title is "Net Rage," which is a term used by one of the participants in the study's focus group. The study's main conclusion is that:

current blog design standards... are a barrier to consumer acc... [Read More]

Tracked on July 13, 2005 10:36 AM

? Net Rage - Are Blogs Too Geeky? from TSMI's Trade Show Marketing Report

Since our coffeehouse was mentioned on Business Week's Blogspotting, I've been spending some time over there. Blogspotting is a Business Week blog that regularly calls out interesting blogs and blogging trends. I use it mostly to get a gauge on [Read More]

Tracked on August 2, 2005 06:42 AM

People don't need to understand the terms and functionality better. Terms like RSS and underlying functionality need to be hidden from people and made automatic. If people understand "bookmarking" a website, the will be able to understand "subscribe" when it is as easy as bookmarking in a modern browser.

Posted by: Drew at July 12, 2005 04:02 PM

Drew, you're exactly right. The tools have to be easy and intuitive. Then we can forget about the terms.

Posted by: steve baker at July 12, 2005 05:19 PM

thanks for sharing...very interesting...reminds me of similar studies a decade ago, when consumers were having difficulties with consumer online services.

It's one of the things that obviously allowed AOL to become AOL, by making things simpler.

Posted by: Michael Parekh at July 12, 2005 09:18 PM

Blog packages are sold on geeky functionality. Look at the recent upgrade of Typepad. Even lovable ol' Technorati is about as easy to understand as Britannica printed backwards. Blogs are read primarily by bloggers. It's too cosy by half. Yet, we hear there are now 5m Chinese bloggers. That's a lot of geeks out there.

Posted by: John (SYNTAGMA) at July 13, 2005 05:39 AM

Actually Bloglines offers a nifty javascript button that you simply add to your toolbar. Then you can click this button when ever you wish to subscribe to the blog you are currently viewing. Just click the 'Sub with Bloglines' button on your toolbar and it will display all the RSS feeds available on the site, just fill the check box(s) of the feed(s) that interest you and you are subscribed, not one click but close ;) I use Bloglines everyday it is an awesome tool for new and seasoned users.

Here's a link to the button:

You have to be a Bloglines user (which is free) to take advantage of this feature.

Posted by: Steve B at July 13, 2005 07:03 AM

Very interesting stuff, thanks to you and Heather for posting. While sobering for those of us trying to court mainstream users, I had to laugh at the reactions of people in mid-realization they were looking at a blog. Sounded like comments from someone who had stepped in something icky. ;-)

Posted by: Cathy Thompson at July 13, 2005 02:55 PM

I think of a blog as essentially an easy-to-use interactive communications tool. Content is king! Too much focus on geeky "bells and whistels" only scares people away.

Posted by: Ed Deevy at July 13, 2005 03:09 PM

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