Add / Subscribe

Best Practice · Last modified July 15, 2009

When presenting frequently updated content, such as regular blog posts, forums, photos, or activity streams, provide your users a standard RSS (subscribe) icon as a call to action for subscribing to updates (or adding the feed to an existing collection of subscriptions).


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What Problem Does This Solve?

A person wants to subscribe to the content of another person and read it in an environment of their own choosing rather than at the source site.

When to Use This Pattern

Use the pattern to allow users to consume content wherever they want, and to allow content to be brought in from other sources.

What's the Solution?

When presenting dynamic content, like regular blog posts, forums or photo and activity streams, provide a call to action for subscribing. Use the standard RSS / Subscribe icon.

rss icon

When the user selects Add or Subscribe:

  • Present options for where they can consume the feed.
  • Present the URL for the feed, which allows the user to cut and paste into their favorite feed reader.
  • Additionally, offer a range of choices for automatically adding the feed to a choice from a list of reader services such as Google Reader, feedly, or MyYahoo.

Why Use This Pattern?

Allowing users to consume content where they want encourages readership. Forcing the user to only consume at your source imparts a rigid, monolithic attitude and ultimately may drive readers away.