Readable, guessable and hackable urls

The stand-out talk at Handheld 2013 was from Jeremy Keith, Founder & Web Stuff Do-er(?) at Clearleft in Brighton. Among other things, he talked about the importance of designing urls.

Designing the url

In some cases the url may be the first point of contact between you and the user. It makes sense to give them proper consideration. They should be human readable, guessable and even hackable.

Examples from HuffDuffer

  • /new
  • /username
  • /tags/tag
  • /username/tags/tag
  • /username/collective
  • /username/collective/tags/tag
  • /search?q=query

Urls work anywhere

  • If it isn’t human readable, then it is probably more likely to be forgotten.
  • Make it guessable, users should be able to look at your url and figure out how to navigate your site.
  • Urls work anywhere, they can be written down, sent as a text, read out loud.
  • They are much better than QR codes (but they need to be designed purposefully).