Improving the accessibility of UserVoice

We are currently testing a Web site with real users and naturally we're requesting feedback. To that end we've signed up with UserVoice (their main site doesn't seem to be accessible in Firefox - not an issue, 23/07). You add some simple Javascript to your page, and the visitor sees a neat "Feedback" tab on the left or right. Click the tab with your mouse and a dialogue box pops up with a form for your comments.

A screen shot of the Feedback box
A screen shot of the Feedback dialogue box on blog.UserVoice.com - Firefox 3.

Join the Kit-Cat club

Recently my family and I visited Stowe Gardens in Buckinghamshire. Between the 1690s and the 1750s the modest early-Baroque garden was transformed into an ambitious English Barque park by its owner Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham. Temples, shrines, lakes and bridges were designed by notables including Charles Bridgeman, John Vanburgh, William Kent and James Gibbs. Capability Brown was head gardener for a time, and worked with Kent. The gardens contain artwork depicting politicians and other historical figures (the Shrine of British Worthies), and were visited by many nobles, including political leaders. Temple was a member of the Whig Kit-Cat Club.

Stowe Gardens Palladian Bridge, by Lady Gooner
Palladian Bridge, L.Gooner/Flickr.

The rich in RSS

Last month my colleagues and I had a team "hackday" – an opportunity to work together (we often work individually on projects) and rapidly develop some software prototypes. We had a few ideas beforehand, did a brainstorm then got down to business in the Digilab. It was a general success – however, we aren't ready to show the results just yet – I'll update when we do ;). Richard, Juliette, Patrick and Will worked with Twitter. Sam and I put together an event feed aggregator, using Yahoo Pipes.

Cartoon, 'So how come it ends in 2012?' 'I ran out of space on the rock'
Will's dad, Nomadic Thoughts

We used RememberTheMilk and Google Calendar feeds as examples, and I was struck again - why don't people use existing standards? Specifically, why don't the feeds provided by RTM and Google use the RSS 1.0 Event module? What they do is markup (or not) the data for the event (start date, location etc.) in HTML, in RSS or Atom. So, for RememberTheMilk we have,

<entry>
  ...
  <id>tag:rememberthemilk.com,1999:tasks-nfre ...</id>
  <content type="xhtml">
    <div xmlns="">
    <div class="rtm_due"><span class="rtm_due_title">Due: </span>
        <span class="rtm_due_value">Thu 10 Apr 08 at 10:00AM</span></div>
    <div class="rtm_priority"><span class="rtm_priority_title">Priority: </span>
        <span class="rtm_due_value">none</span></div>
    ...