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Experiments in URL design.

By : Shabda Raaj

Keeping url structure sane plays a major role in user experience, by making it easy to go to specific pages and navigate the site. Some real world urls and how they could have been better follow.


The Bad Urls:

  • http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1967820
  • http://area51.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=99
  • http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/aa336522.aspx

The Good

  • Easy to develop for. The id referred is the Primary key

The Bad

  • Hard for users to select the correct page from a url bar dropdown
  • Bad for SEO

Neutral:

  • Easy to guess next and previous pages.

The fairly good Urls.

  • http://www.reddit.com/r/django/comments/efh2v/djangoeasymaps_app_that_makes_it_easy_to_display/
  • http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4352854/jquery-handle-keypress-for-list

The Good

  • Includes title in the url which makes it easy to select in browser dropdown and history.
  • Good for SEO.

The Bad

  • Includes redundant info in Urls, which make it unnecessarily long.
  • Urls are not unique. http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4352854/anything will work.

What I would like

  • http://stackoverflow.com/jquery-handle-keypress-for-list
  • http://www.reddit.com/djangoeasymaps_app_that_makes_it_easy_to_display/

The almost good urls.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/shabda/
  • http://www.reddit.com/r/india
  • http://www.reddit.com/user/shabda/

The Good

  • Short
  • Includes only important info in the url.

Cons

  • Quite good, but still includes some unneeded info.

What I would like

  • http://www.linkedin.com/shabda/
  • http://www.reddit.com/india
  • http://www.reddit.com/u/shabda/

The prefect urls.

  • https://github.com/Spacelog
  • https://github.com/facebook/tornado
  • http://twitter.com/#!/shabda
  • http://twitter.com/#!/shabda/kiddos
  • http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/03/angry-birds-android-1-million-advertising/
  • https://mail.google.com/a/agiliq.com/#starred/12c84752671e87c3
  • http://code.google.com/appengine/docs/whatisgoogleappengine.html

The Good

  • No unneeded info is included in the urls.
  • Each part of the url can be removed to get the logical page for it. Eg. 0 1, 2, 3[http://code.google.com/]

Suggestion

Make urls case insensitive

  • http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1967820
  • http://area51.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=99

Work.

  • http://news.ycombinator.com/Item?id=1967820
  • http://area51.phpbb.com/phpBB/Viewforum.php?f=99

Do not work. (We changed capitalization.)

While

All of these work.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/shabda
  • http://twitter.com/#!/Shabda
  • https://github.com/Facebook/tornado
  • https://github.com/facebook/tornado


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