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from swerve of shore to bend of bay

links for 2010-11-21

  • oday, it’s rolling out an experiment that hopes to tackle the “original authorship” problem: two new metatags, syndication-source and original-source, intended to attribute authorship, via URLs, into the back end of news on the web. Though the tags will work in slightly different ways, Googlers Eric Weigle and Abe Epton note in a blog post, “for both the aim is to allow publishers to take credit for their work and give credit to other journalists.”

    Metatags are just one of the many tools Google uses to determine which articles most deserve news consumers’ attention. They work, essentially, by including data about articles within webpages, data that help inform Google’s search algorithms. Google itself already relies on such tagging to help its main search engine read and contextualize the web. (Remember Rupert Murdoch’s so-far-unrealized threats to opt out of Google searches? He would have done it with a noindex tag.)

  • The function of alternate text is to make content that contains images understandable when images cannot be seen, either by users with limited vision, by search engines, or when users turn off image rendering in their browser. Instead of being a description of an image, alternate text is a textual substitute for an image, that must coherently fit into content surrounding the image.
  • No other factor causes greater customer frustration and dissatisfaction than confusing menus and links

    The cause of most confusing menus and links stems from organizational language and thinking. Take, for example, the FAQ. Over the years, I’ve found that most customers don’t know what a FAQ is. That certainly surprised me because I thought everyone knew that FAQ meant Frequently Asked Questions, just like everyone knows that the logo links to the homepage.

    However, the FAQ has a deeper problem. From a customers’ perspective it is essentially a useless link. It is a classic example of organization-centric language.

    I tried to renew my TV license recently and was offered two choices: General FAQs and Online Service FAQs. Which should I choose? On another website I was given two different choices: Frequently Asked Questions and Most Frequently Asked Questions.

  • The company has applied for a trademark on "Cisco Cultural Advisor" as the name of an application for "creating, analyzing and comparing profiles of users' communication and work styles, and for improving effectiveness of business interactions." In the application, filed Oct. 19, Cisco referred to Cultural Advisor as "application software for mobile phones." The application has not yet been assigned an examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

    Cultural Advisor is a product under development and is "focused on inclusion and diversity," Cisco said in a statement on Friday. The company did not provide any additional details.

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