Recently, Microsoft announced on the IE Blog that they will be adapting the Firefox RSS feed icon for Internet Explorer 7. In an update, they mention that it will also be used throughout the new Office 12 suite. This is a nice demonstration of the influence the little Firefox browser has been making in the IT world.
The biggest argument towards this purely graphical icon is the fact that the regular user doesn’t necessarily know what the technical acronym “RSS” stands for (and shouldn’t need to) and thus shouldn’t even have to be confronted with the term. Also, with alternative standards (kind of an oxymoron, eh?) such as Atom around, “RSS” doesn’t cover the whole field anymore.
Content syndication is an excellent technology for the web on a practical and social level, and developing one common standard visual brand for it will help further popularize it. In order to support the icon as a new standard throughout the rest of the web, Matt Brett has launched a new website: Feed Icons. He offers the icon in numerous editable formats and encourages recoloring as, I quote:
We believe that as a symbol, the feed icon is recognizable enough that it doesn’t need to be restricted to one colour.
I’m going to have to update my RSS page one of these days.