URLs – they are so vitally important and are so much a part of our lives that sometimes we do not even actively think about it anymore. I was reminded how important in a recent post entitled “URL’s Are For People, Not Computers“. With a title like that I’m fairly confident that you know what the article is about, but I thought I’d share my thoughts on that article here nonetheless.
Andreas’ main point in the article is that:
URLs are user facing and should be considered important UI elements
He even backs this statement up with science! (PDF) I’ve got to find me some science to back up the thoughts I recently shared on responsive design, maybe that would have helped. But I’m off topic, back to URLs.
Let me play my cards early on, I agree with the above quote. URLs should be considered an important UI element. I don’t think we’ll find many people who would disagree with this, although I’m sure there are a select few out there who would argue that the semantics of URLs don’t matter. But again, we’ve got science on our side, so they’re wrong and we’re right.
Moving right along…
The problem I see with this is agreeing on URL best practices. For example, Andreas likes URLs like this: http://example.org/furniture/desk-chairs/herman-millers-mirra-chair/, I do not. He argues that this URL is begging to be hacked, such that the user can chop off everything after furniture and get to the furniture page.
If you’ve got breadcrumbs built into your webpages, why do you need them in the URL, why not have the URL be example.org/mirra-chair/ instead? It’s shorter to type, easier to remember and the keyword, mirra chair, is right there unencumbered by categorical junk. And if you have breadcrumbs built in, you can just click on the ‘furniture’ link there and it’ll take you where you want to go, no ‘hacking’ required.
Not surprisingly this is the approach we take here at WP Daily. For example, a recent article I wrote reviewing a plugin called MyCurator is http://torquemag.io/mycurator-plugin/. Makes sense right? Domain name and keywords. Quick, simple and user friendly.
So what do you think? If you were to write out what you think URL best practices should be, what would you say?