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Podcast File Name Usability

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  • human_factors
    I wrote another article about podcasting and usability. This one, as the title indicates, is all about file names. This might not sound like a big deal at
    Message 1 of 11 , Oct 20, 2004
      I wrote another article about podcasting and usability. This one, as
      the title indicates, is all about file names. This might not sound
      like a big deal at first but dealing with poorly named files wastes
      time and energy. The article summary is below.

      "The purpose of this article is to help people create more useful and
      effective podcast file names. Good file names are easy to read and
      understand, but they also help people sort and search for what they
      want. A podcast file naming convention is presented for
      consideration."

      Podcast File Name Usability
      --> http://oristus.com/resources/podcastnames.html

      =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
      John S. Rhodes
      Usability Consulting --> http://oristus.com
      Usability Blog --------> http://webword.com
    • Nemenisis
      John, great article! Right to the point with one big exception: Format of date. For example webword-usability-05oct2004.mp3 webword-usability-18sept2004.mp3
      Message 2 of 11 , Oct 21, 2004
        John, great article!

        Right to the point with one big exception:
        Format of date. For example

        webword-usability-05oct2004.mp3
        webword-usability-18sept2004.mp3
        webword-usability-20july2003.mp3

        is not sortable. And there are shows which I keep for example to give
        it via usbstick to colleagues of mine to spare bandwith etc.

        This should be year-month-day.

        Plus for abbreviations - some of them are names itself, everyone
        should know what dsc stands for. But of course Adam does always
        say it at the beginning of the show so there is no doubt about it. :o


        + thanks for your addresses, I am highly into usability :o)

        Nicole

        --
        http://useful-sounds.de/ - the english blog
        http://beissholz.de/ - von bissig bis garstig
        http://ideengeberin.de/ - pragmatisches für Sie und Ihre Kunden
        neezee at jabber // 153730581 at icq
      • human_factors
        ... Thanks Nicole. I m still forming my final opinion on the file name usability issue. The article I wrote was a starting point and I will probably update
        Message 3 of 11 , Oct 21, 2004
          > + thanks for your addresses, I am highly into usability :o)
          >
          > Nicole

          Thanks Nicole. I'm still forming my "final" opinion on the file name
          usability issue. The article I wrote was a starting point and I will
          probably update it, or write a follow up. The main point is that I'm
          trying to get people to think about their listeners. Everyone
          benefits from good usability!

          Based on some feedback so far, and further research, here is how we
          might revise the file names. The first list is what I recommended in
          my article and the second list is a possible revision.

          webword-usability-05oct2004.mp3
          webword-usability-18sept2004.mp3
          webword-usability-20july2003.mp3

          webword-2004oct05.mp3
          webword-2004sept14.mp3
          webword-2003dec22.mp3

          First, I agree with Nicole that sorting might be easier if the year
          is put first. Research backs this up. (ISO 9000 recommendation is
          along these lines too, BTW.) Second, I'm not so sure we need the
          keyword or tag, such as "usability" in my first file names. This also
          keeps the file names shorter.

          What do others think? Does it make sense to provide the name of the
          site or host and then the date in the second format above? And, do
          you agree that the keyword / metadata in the file name is a waste?

          =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
          John S. Rhodes
          Industrial Strength Usability
          Usability Consutling --> http://oristus.com
          Usabiltiy Blog --------> http://webword.com
        • Christian Hessmann
          Hello John, ... Still wrong. ;-) Why do you want to use names for the month? First, it s not sortable, april will be the first month in the year, august the
          Message 4 of 11 , Oct 21, 2004
            Hello John,


            > webword-2004oct05.mp3
            > webword-2004sept14.mp3
            > webword-2003dec22.mp3

            Still wrong. ;-)

            Why do you want to use names for the month?

            First, it's not sortable, april will be the first month in the year,
            august the second and so on...

            Second, english is not the only language in the world. I'm pretty sure
            some people will start writing 2004Dez05 or, even worse, 2004Mär04.
            2004-03-04 is something everyone is able to understand.


            --
            cu Hessi
          • Myk O'Leary
            English conventions of month/day are not universal either. Many countries do day/month. It is impossible sometimes to figure out which method has been used
            Message 5 of 11 , Oct 21, 2004
              English conventions of month/day are not universal either. Many countries
              do day/month. It is impossible sometimes to figure out which method has
              been used without a word. The first thing to pop to my head would be to
              use both number and word in the month "slot" so that 1) we can sort and 2)
              it is obvious which one is month and which one is day.

              > webword-2004oct05.mp3
              > webword-2004sept14.mp3
              > webword-2003dec22.mp3

              Turns to

              webword-2004-10oct-05.mp3
              webword-2004-09sept-14.mp3
              webword-2003-12dec-22.mp3

              Thoughts?

              Myk O'Leary
              myko@... http://www.blueneedle.com
              Blue Needle - Bringing arcane Internet processes to the common man.
              -----
              "Do what you can, where you are, with what you have." -- Theodore
              Roosevelt

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Christian Hessmann [mailto:news@...]
              Sent: Thursday, October 21, 2004 9:20 AM
              To: podcasters@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [podcasters] Re: Podcast File Name Usability


              Second, english is not the only language in the world. I'm pretty sure
              some people will start writing 2004Dez05 or, even worse, 2004Mär04.
              2004-03-04 is something everyone is able to understand.
            • Jamie Forrest
              John, Thanks for your continuing work on Podcast usability. Podcasting is still a very new phenomenon, and it is wise to sort these issues out now, before
              Message 6 of 11 , Oct 21, 2004
                John,

                Thanks for your continuing work on Podcast usability. Podcasting is
                still a very new phenomenon, and it is wise to sort these issues out
                now, before there are millions of people out there with podcasts that
                are called asdf64_october3rd.mp3.

                However, I think that metadata can go a long way in solving the
                problems of finding and sorting podcasts, and filenames are, to a
                certain extent, a lesser issue. I use iTunes to manage my MP3s, and it
                is very easy to view, edit and search for various metadata tags. It's
                also easy to delete files right from iTunes and manage them in
                playlists, etc. iTunes also creates nested folders based on metadata
                information (it automatically puts files in Artist/Album/ folders).
                Very nice. I don't know about other programs, but I assume since
                everyone likes to copy Apple's designs that other programs do this as
                well.

                Now in terms of filenames, I still agree that there should be a naming
                convention, but I don't think there needs to be any more information
                than just podcast name & date. All the other information could be put
                into the mp3 tags and viewed in the MP3 player. I think the simplest
                way to go, with regard to filenames, would be

                podcastname-YYYYMMDD.mp3

                Short, informative, sortable, compatible. Also, think numbered months
                are better than spelled months, for reasons mentioned previously.

                Jamie Forrest
              • Nicole Simon
                On Thu, 21 Oct 2004 13:56:25 -0400, Jamie Forrest wrote: While I don t agree on just let us do what it okay in itunes and forget
                Message 7 of 11 , Oct 21, 2004
                  On Thu, 21 Oct 2004 13:56:25 -0400, Jamie Forrest
                  <jaf@...> wrote:


                  While I don't agree on 'just let us do what it okay in itunes and
                  forget about the rest' I do agree on
                  - useful filenames
                  - useful metainformiation in .mp3 tags
                  -

                  > podcastname-YYYYMMDD.mp3

                  I have seen a numbering of the files itself very often instead of the
                  date which would suite the same wish.

                  Nicole

                  --
                  http://useful-sounds.de/ - the english blog
                  http://beissholz.de/ - von bissig bis garstig
                  http://ideengeberin.de/ - pragmatisches für Sie und Ihre Kunden
                  neezee at jabber // 153730581 at icq
                • andrew clarke
                  ... Please use ISO 8601 dates, ie. YYYY-MM-DD with leading zeros, eg. webword-2004-10-05.mp3 webword-2004-09-14.mp3 webword-2004-12-22.mp3 Please. Please.
                  Message 8 of 11 , Oct 21, 2004
                    On Thu, Oct 21, 2004 at 02:57:38PM -0000, human_factors wrote:

                    > webword-2004oct05.mp3
                    > webword-2004sept14.mp3
                    > webword-2003dec22.mp3

                    Please use ISO 8601 dates, ie. YYYY-MM-DD with leading zeros, eg.

                    webword-2004-10-05.mp3
                    webword-2004-09-14.mp3
                    webword-2004-12-22.mp3

                    Please.

                    Please.

                    Please!

                    This is the only naming convention that will sort properly. You can
                    omit the hyphen if you like, but be consistent about it.

                    http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/iso-time.html

                    And nobody sane ever writes dates in YYYY-DD-MM format, so there can be
                    no ambiguity there.

                    Regards
                    Andrew
                  • Christian Hessmann
                    Hello Andrew, ... Amen. Thank you. -- cu Hessi
                    Message 9 of 11 , Oct 21, 2004
                      Hello Andrew,


                      > Please use ISO 8601 dates, ie. YYYY-MM-DD with leading zeros, eg.

                      Amen. Thank you.


                      --
                      cu Hessi
                    • human_factors
                      [snip] ... [snip] ... Thanks for the input, Andrew. I think there are a few important things about this discussion. First, I like the idea of sticking with an
                      Message 10 of 11 , Oct 21, 2004
                        [snip]

                        > > webword-2004oct05.mp3
                        > > webword-2004sept14.mp3
                        > > webword-2003dec22.mp3
                        >
                        > Please use ISO 8601 dates, ie. YYYY-MM-DD with leading zeros, eg.

                        [snip]

                        > This is the only naming convention that will sort properly. You can
                        > omit the hyphen if you like, but be consistent about it.


                        Thanks for the input, Andrew. I think there are a few important
                        things about this discussion. First, I like the idea of sticking with
                        an international standard. It is documented well and accepted. It is
                        also international. Podcasters around the globe can understand and
                        utilize the format.

                        Second, when you include the dashes the file name really doesn't look
                        too bad. However, I still think it is somewhat hard for some folks to
                        read, especially Americans (we are a silly group of month-day-year
                        people). On the other hand, since the other "tag" data has been
                        removed, the files names are short. Nice!

                        Third, in light of the previous point, we are talking about how we
                        VIEW the file name (i.e., how we read it) but we are also talking
                        about how we USE the file name (i.e., sorting, searching). What is
                        more important? (Not sure I have a good answer!)

                        Fourth, several people have talked about MP3 tags and metadata that
                        is outside the file name. I hope very much people are tagging their
                        MP3's. This information goes a long way. Please note that it goes a
                        long way with both humans AND machines. By machines I mean search
                        tools, sorting functionality, and so forth.

                        Aside: Metadata gets more and more important all the time. As we talk
                        about the semantic web (machines talking to machines via the
                        internet, behind the scenees), we need to consider this data for the
                        sake of machines. There is a tricky balance between making something
                        friendly for machines and friendly for people.

                        OK, in any event, unless there objections, I am going to update the
                        article or write a new one with this recommendation:

                        sitename or hostname-YYYY-MM-DD.mp3 and files will look like this ...

                        adamcurry-2004-03-25.mp3
                        evilgenius-2004-12-22.mp3
                        dailysource-2004-08-08.mp3
                        webword-2003-03-18.mp3
                        webword-2004-10-05.mp3
                        wholewheatradio-2004-09-14.mp3

                        Hopefully we can encourage podcasters to follow this simple format.

                        =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
                        John S. Rhodes
                        Industrial Strength Usability
                        Usability Consutling --> http://oristus.com
                        Usabiltiy Blog --------> http://webword.com
                      • cantonib
                        ... Joining this conversation late, but I wanted to cast a vote agreeing with this convention you ve put together. As Jamie mentioned, applications like iTunes
                        Message 11 of 11 , Oct 22, 2004
                          > OK, in any event, unless there objections, I am going to
                          > update the article or write a new one with this
                          > recommendation:
                          >
                          > sitename or hostname-YYYY-MM-DD.mp3 and files will
                          > look like this ...
                          >
                          > adamcurry-2004-03-25.mp3
                          > evilgenius-2004-12-22.mp3
                          > dailysource-2004-08-08.mp3
                          > webword-2003-03-18.mp3
                          > webword-2004-10-05.mp3
                          > wholewheatradio-2004-09-14.mp3

                          Joining this conversation late, but I wanted to cast a vote agreeing
                          with this convention you've put together.

                          As Jamie mentioned, applications like iTunes do a great job of
                          isolating users from actual filenames (assuming the MP3 tags are
                          present and accurate). By having the filenames be consistent like
                          this, managing podcasts on other devices will be easier as well.

                          For example on my Tapwave Zodiac, the MP3 player itself shows the
                          tagged data (artist, title, etc.) but when you *delete* a song on the
                          device, you are presented with the list of files again. Thus, nicely
                          named files will be a big help for everyone.

                          Cheers,
                          brian

                          --
                          Brian Cantoni <www.cantoni.org>
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