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Making the IndieWeb more approachable

Replied to IndieWebCamp Popup: How to Make the IndieWeb More Approachable (

The IndieWeb community welcomes anyone who is interested in expressing themselves on a personal website, regardless of technical experience. In this meetup, we will be asking the question “how can we make the IndieWeb more approachable to encourage greater participation and reach a wider audience?”

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 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”

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

4 replies on “Making the IndieWeb more approachable”

I … absolutely agree with everything here.
Been trying to make clear that you don’t need a dozen WordPress plugins to get started, or support twenty-plus post types (and so on).
One of the first things I learned about and wanted to implement, was Webmention. (A social network outside the social networks, how cool is that!) Only to then find out that an astonishing number of people would look only at and bringing (specifically) Twitter likes and replies to their own site.
Either way, for me it’s always been:

Your own site


The realisation that, for others to distinguish between, e.g., likes and replies and bookmarks, I’d need microformats

Simple (!) microformats

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