Delicious Colors

On April 1st a new ‘color’ feature was added to del.icio.us and I am not a big fan of it (in it’s current state). What follows is an email that I sent to the del.icio.us mailing list last night (and which has yet to illict a response, unfortunately).

Hello,

Let me start by saying that I’m not entirely sure if the ‘colors:’
addition that appeared on April 1st was a joke, or not, but I think
it’s the start of a good idea and can be improved upon. Now, with that
in mind, I have some very serious problems with ‘color:’.

1) I was reading a delicious RSS feed of one of my friends and saw a
link to one of these new color: items, I clicked it (not thinking) and
was immediately treated to an error message. Up until this point I had
thought that this addition was amusing, and mildly interesting at best.
Now I was just annoyed and very upset. Essentially, this URI will only
work on delicious and will only ever have meaning to those who view
this information on the delicious web site. This is a serious problem.

2) There is no way to find other people who link to the same color
scheme, if the colors are in a different order. Or find color schemes
which have the colors that you wish to query. Or colors that are
frequently used with the colors that you pick. Nothing. It is
completely broken contextually.

Now, how to fix this:

Take a sample entry, as it exists right now:

url: color:FF0000,FFFFFF,0000FF
title: Red with and blue!
desc: Go america (or france)!
tags: colors america france

and now consider this:

url: http://del.icio.us/tag/color:FF0000+color:FFFFFF+color:0000FF/
title: Red with and blue!
desc: Go america (or france)!
tags: colors america france color:FF0000 color:FFFFFF color:0000FF

Note: You don’t have to use the delicious tag URL at all – this simply
exists to give non-delicious users some context to what is being
discussed, another url discussing the color scheme could work equally
as well (such as the one generated by
http://wellstyled.com/tools/colorscheme2/index-en.html ). Additionally,
someone could even link to a web site and describe colors that relate
to that site (e.g. http://google.com/ and color:FFFFFF).

Now, what does this afford you?
1) You do not break the existing use of delicious. Currently, it is
exclusively used to store URLs and is easily transportable (from one
data source to another or from one person to another).

2) Someone who is viewing this information from an outside source (e.g.
NOT on delicious) can still get information on what the ‘url’ actually
means, as opposed to a meaningless string of text which provides
errors.

3) No modification to the existing form of delicious. You could make it
such that color:* items have a background color of that color – or
maybe the text becomes that color, regardless, it doesn’t break
anything. It could even be a user option to enable/disable if it
bothers them.

4) The order of the colors no longer matters. Using the ‘joins’ (+) you
can find all matching tag groups, or as some people might like to call
them ‘color schemes’.

5) You can now do very interesting searches:
/tag/color:FF0000/ will give you everything tagged with red
…and it will give you a list of related tags (and colors?) to red

/tag/color:FF0000+color:0000FF/ will give you everything tagged with
red and blue
/tag/color:0000FF+color:FF0000/ so will this

6) It’s also important to note that the use of hex codes is not
exclusive:
color:255,255,255
color:white
color:FFF
color:FFFFFF
Should all mean the same thing (by definition). Granted, each tag may
mean different things to different people, which is an important
distinction, in my opinion (hex may mean more to a web designer, rgb
may mean more to a programmer, a name may mean more to a non-technical
person, for example)

I think it’s really important that this feature be re-thought, because
as it stands right now it’s breaking what delicious was intended for
(or what delicious is being used for). An article on this matter can be
found here:
http://juliamae.com/hci/information-architecture/delicious-color-
sharing/

I’m curious as to what other people have to say concerning this issue,
as it’s really bothering me right now (even though it probably
shouldn’t, this much) and can really be made into something rather
useful and positive, as a whole.

John Resig

Home


jeresig@gmail.com

Posted: April 5th, 2005


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