My notes and thoughts from today’s discussion about making the IndieWeb more approachable:
What’s working for the IndieWeb?
- the community — chat allows direct connection with people to help
- the wiki is a massive wealth of knowledge — if you know what you’re looking for
What are blockers to joining the IndieWeb?
- Overwhelming amount of information on the wiki
- Getting started — decision making
- Sparklines — setting them up is hard
- Perception of who it’s for — that it’s for tech people
Choice underpins many challenges
Choice is at the core of the IndieWeb approachability and accessibility challenge:
- choice overwhelm
- lack of documentation to understand what pieces do and what pieces you need
- understanding what IndieWeb *is*
- choosing which steps to undertake
Decisions add friction
People tend to pick an option and stick with it until they have to change — marketers take advantage of this all the time, choice and change are more work than most people want to do
^ I think there’s a place for more opinionated guides to the IndieWeb — as James G described it, a linear track that offers an out-of-the-box solution for non-tech folks — I also think that promoting micro.blog is a very easy solution if $5 a month is not a barrier (which is half the price of my web hosting, a great deal)
^ Be clear that there is no “bar” for participation, that the choice is yours about what you want, what’s fun, what achieves your goals — encourage taking your time, doing things one step at a time
People aren’t used to having choices online
Silos remove choice, so there’s also a mental shift between existing in the confines of the silo and the openness of a broad array of choices (and decisions) of the IndieWeb — paraphrasing / expanding on comment from Chris Aldrich — hence many people’s inclination to seek a 1-for-1 replacement for Twitter, etc.
What people want to do online (that they might also want to do with a website):
- share their knowledge — especially hyper-specialized
- connect with other people — build community
^ There could be an element of coaching / encouraging people how to start posting more types of content and expanding their idea of what they can do online, with their site — where to start though?
Challenges with getting started in the IndieWeb
If things work, great, but if you don’t understand how it works, you can’t troubleshoot.
It can be intimidating to enter a space that you’re not sure is for you — Hollie suggests a beginner channel in the chat where there is no assumed knowledge <– I agree that the chat has a culture drawing on extended knowledge of the tech space that makes it feel somewhat daunting to join in conversations where you don’t know the players or history
Limitations of the wiki
David pointed out that a wiki is maybe not the best way for onboarding — which I agree with — the wiki is overwhelming and hard to find things
^ I’m feeling like an IndieWeb quiz to help you choose between options could be fun and useful — I also like Chris’ Quick Start guide for a simplified comparison, and I think there could be even a simpler version
Angelo pointed out that the wiki format is limiting for formatting — hard to add buttons, columns, etc
^ Probably we should do what every other service does and have a page comparing IndieWeb with “alternatives”