📑 Exploring the UX of web-annotations | Tom Critchlow

Annotated Exploring the UX of web-annotations by Tom CritchlowTom Critchlow (tomcritchlow.com)
Especially on mobile.  

I’ve found in the past that highlighting on Chrome for Android was nearly impossible. I’ve switched to using Firefox when I need to use hypothes.is on mobile.

Default avatars for refbacks

Filed an Issue Refbacks for WordPress by David ShanskeDavid Shanske (GitHub)
Contribute to dshanske/wordpress-refback development by creating an account on GitHub.

Refbacks in conjunction with the Webmention plugin and Semantic Linkbacks plugin don’t have as solid a parity with webmentions as they show up in the comments section as text instead of as an avatar. Perhaps it would be prettier if refbacks were given a default system avatar (possibly modifiable) for display?

👓 Kara Swisher interview with Jack Dorsey: Highlights | Recode

Read Kara Swisher interview with Jack Dorsey: Highlights by Kurt Wagner (Recode)
How hard is it to have a conversation on Twitter? So hard even the CEO can’t do it. Kara Swisher’s live-tweeted interview with Jack Dorsey highlighted some of Twitter’s product issues.

👓 Instagram’s Archive feature is now available for everyone to hide embarrassing old photos | The Verge

Read Instagram’s Archive feature is now available for everyone to hide embarrassing old photos (The Verge)
Instagram is releasing its Archive feature to all users today, after testing it with a smaller group of people last month. The feature lets anyone on Instagram hide their old posts without deleting...

👓 My New Posting Workflow | grant.codes

Read My New Posting Workflow by Grant RichmondGrant Richmond (grant.codes)
So I have been working away on some new features on my site for quite a while now and it looks like everything is about ready. Honestly I don't particularly enjoy writing long-form content, so it is kind of strange that I have really enjoyed working on this new functionality.The Inspiration I was ra...

This is awesome Grant!

May have been a nice addition to add some links to the browser extensions (or maybe I missed them?) and make it more explicit that they’re publicly available. Can’t wait to try this out!

👓 A more complicated web | Christian Heilmann

Read A more complicated web by Christian HeilmannChristian Heilmann (christianheilmann.com)

One of the amazing things about the web used to be its simplicity. It was not too hard to become your own publisher on it. You either used one of the now defunct services like Geocities, Xoom, Apple Web Pages, Google Pages and so on… Or you got a server, learned about HTML and CSSand a dash of JavaScript and created your own site. Training materials were online and largely free and open.

We definitely need to do more work on making the web more accessible to the average person…

👓 Sunday, December 16, 2018 | Scripting News

Read Scripting News: Sunday, December 16, 2018 by Dave Winer (Scripting News)
Feeling courageous? Click the [repost] symbol next to this post. #

I like that Dave is continuing to experiment with allowing others to use Twitter to interact with his blog. Reminds me of some of my experiments almost two years ago.

Improving user experience with links, notifications, and Webmentions

Back in December, I was thinking about html links and the functionality of sending notifications using webmentions. Within the IndieWeb, this is known as mentioning or potentially person-tagging someone (inline). By adding a link to a person’s website onto any mentions of their name in my posts, my website will automatically send them a notification that they were mentioned. They can then determine what they want to do or not do with that information.

While I want people that I mention in some of my posts to be aware that they’ve been mentioned by me, I don’t necessarily need to add to the visual cruft and clutter of the pages by intentionally calling out that link with the traditional color change and underline that <a> links in HTML often have. After all, I’m linking to them to send a notification to them, not necessarily to highlight them to everyone else. In some sense, I’m doing this because I’ve never quite liked that Twitter uses @names highlighted within posts. All the additional cruft in Twitter like the “@” and “#” prefixes, while adding useful functionality, have always dramatically decreased the readability and enjoyment of their interface for me. So why not just get rid of them?! I’m glad to have this power and ability to do so on my own website and hope others appreciate it.

In the past I’ve tried “blind notifying” (or bcc’ing via Webmention) people by adding invisible or hidden links in the page, but this has been confusing to some. This is why one of the general principles of the IndieWeb is to

Use & publish visible data for humans first, machines second.

Thus, I’ve added a tiny bit of CSS to those notification links so that they appear just like the rest of the text on the site. The notifications via Webmention will still work, and those who are mentioned will be able to see their names appear within the post.

For those interested, I’ve left in some hover UI so if you hover your mouse over these “hidden” links, they will still indicate there’s a link there and it will work as expected.

As an example of the functionality here within this particular post, I’ve hidden the link on the words “mentioning” and “person-tagging” in the first paragraph. Loqi, the IndieWeb chat bot, should pick up the mention of those wiki pages via WebSub and syndicate my post into the IndieWeb meta chat room, and those interested in the ideas can still hover over the word and click on it for more details. In practice, I’ll typically be doing this for less relevant links as well as for tagging other people solely to send them notifications.

I’m curious if there are any edge cases or ideas I’m missing in this sort of user interface? Sadly it won’t work in most feed readers, but perhaps there’s a standardizable way of indicating this? If you have ideas about improved presentation for this sort of functionality, I’d be thrilled to hear them in the comments below.

Twitter:

👓 Blocking Domains in webmention.io | Aaron Parecki

Read Blocking Domains in webmention.io by Aaron PareckiAaron Parecki (Aaron Parecki)
For the past week or so, I've been getting a series of Pingbacks from a spam blog that reposts a blog post a couple times a day as a new post each time. It's up to about 220 copies of the post, each one having sent me a Pingback, and each one showing up in my reader as a notification, which also cau...

👓 The Impossibility of ‘Heathers’ | National Review

Read The Impossibility of 'Heathers' by Kevin D. WilliamsonKevin D. Williamson (National Review)
Which movies from your youth would be impossible to make today due to political correctness?

Interesting that he asks for reader responses here, but the website provides no way to actively respond.

Reply to Aaron Davis about links

Replied to a post by Aaron DavisAaron Davis (Read Write Respond)

I think it is one of those topics with a lot of conjecture John. Apologies if there are too many links.  

Don’t apologize for links. It’s the web and links are important. In fact I might think that you could have a few additional links here! I would have seen it anyway, but I was a tad sad not to have seen a link to that massive pullquote/photo you made at the top of the post which would have sent me a webmention to boot. (Of course WordPress doesn’t make it easy on this front either, so your best bet would have been an invisible <link> hidden in the text maybe?)

I’ve been in the habit of person-tagging people in posts to actively send them webmentions, but I also have worried about the extra “visual clutter” and cognitive load of the traditional presentation of links as mentioned by John. (If he wasn’t distracted by the visual underlines indicating links, he might have been as happy?) As a result, I’m now considering adding some CSS to my site so that some of these webmention links simply look like regular text. This way the notifications will be triggered, but without adding the seeming “cruft” visually or cognitively. Win-win? Thanks for the inspiration!

In your case here, you’ve kindly added enough context about what to expect about the included links that the reader can decide for themselves while still making your point. You should sleep easily on this point and continue linking to your heart’s content.

In some sense, I think that the more links the better. I suspect the broader thesis of Cesar Hidalgo’s book Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies would give you some theoretical back up for the idea.

👓 Twitter is relaunching the reverse-chronological feed as an option for all users starting today | The Verge

Read Twitter is relaunching the reverse-chronological feed as an option for all users starting today by Casey Newton (The Verge)
Just hit that sparkle, fam

Apparently so many people are using shortcuts like “filter:follows -filter:replies” from a few months back that they’ve decided to fix their UI.

Of course the article indicates that it seems to be higher engagement (aka clicks for advertising) as the motivator rather than simply making a stronger and more usable product:

Keith Coleman, vice president of product at Twitter, told The Verge that in tests, users who had access to the easy toggle participated in more conversations than average.

I was reading a post by Greg McVerry when I happened upon the credit for his featured photo. At first I had thought it was a stock photo, and when I realized it was from a IndieWebCamp, I looked closer and noticed that Aaron Parecki’s website was featured on the photo in the cell phone. I looked a bit closer and thought “someone has doctored his avatar as it’s tilted in the photo.” Then, knowing Aaron, I thought I had better check on my cell phone. 

It turns out if you visit his site on a cell phone, his avatar rotates with the phone!

The whimsy of this just brightens my day.