I-names and Usability

Kaliya likes i-names. She does a good job in this post of articulating why. There are a few things she points out, however, that will only be "good" and "simple" if we choose to make them so.

In particular, she says "[d]omain names system usability sucks." The unstated implication is that XRI resolution won't. It's hard to tell since the tools for letting users do that aren't really available yet. Will they be better and easier to use? WE can only hope.

Also, i-names are deceptively simple now because not many people are using them. What happens when all the good i-names are gone and people are using ones like


And is this example from Kaliya really better than a LiveJournal URL?


Probably not. The only thing you can say for it in terms of usability is that at least it's not in reverse order.

Don't get me wrong--as I said earlier, Kaliya makes some good points, but I don't believe that the primary benefit of i-names is usability. The primary benefit of i-names is the power you get from any system that creates a layer of indirection: the power of abstraction. Here's Kaliya's example that illustrates that beautifully:

I like the fact that I could start out with a community name like @integrativeactivism*morningglory and use that on several sites around the web and then....decide you know i want a top level name just for me ... so I go and get =morningglory and all the logins that I have under that other community name don't break. The i-number under @integrativeactivism*monrningglory is mine and can be resolved to =morningglory.
From Identity Woman » Why i-names? I think they work for my people.
Referenced Thu Jan 04 2007 08:56:08 GMT-0700 (MST)

As I said in an earlier post: "XRIs make up for their additional complexity in semantic mappings and flexibility."