URL Structure FTW – Pretty and Readable Permalinks

I noticed that the clearleft.com site has very clever url structure. You can read the urls like a sentence. Like their about section is “/is” and their capabilities is ‘/does’, and their portfolio section is “/made” , so clearleft.com made code for america. Check the urls listed here and you’ll notice that they read like a sentence. These urls were made intentionally for humans!

Screenshot 2015-07-31 14.15.00

 

Although they are missing an opportunity I think, their blog is clearleft.com/thinks/, but then they just use a post id for the url. http://clearleft.com/thinks/298, I was hoping it’d be clever. If it had the title of the post, it’d make more sense.

Something to think about as we create sites.

I then looked around a bit and found a talk about some of this, here it is and the relevant bits:

If you really want to take this content-first approach to its ultimate limit, something I like to do, if I ever get the chance to do this on products is I like to start with the URLs; really bring it down to the most basic webiness of what you’re building is, what is the URL structure, which is something I think people don’t think about enough. And yet, URLs are so, so important. Some people treat them like an implementation detail of the web, like, “oh yeah, we’ve got native, we’ve got the web, web has URLs, whatever,” whereas I think it’s the most powerful part of the web. In fact, once you have the name of something and once you have the address that you can pull up on any device, as long as it’s connected to a network, that is amazing. That immediately makes it part of this huge, big, chaotic mess of a web. It was Tim Berners-Lee who said, when you have a URL, it’s part of the web, it’s part of the discourse of humanity, this giant Library of Alexandria that we’re all collectively building.

URL design as a skill is something I feel we’re losing, which is a real shame because I will admit, I’m a URL fetishist. I love a good URL. But I think, rightly so, because they are this fundamental unit of the web. Kyle Neath who works at GitHub—where they have beautiful URLs—he said:

URLs are universal. They work in Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, cURL, wget, your iPhone, Android and even written down on sticky notes, they are the one universal syntax of the web.

That’s so important to remember: written down on sticky notes, written on a Post-it. They’re for humans. URLs are for humans. Yes, they’re used by machines to fetch a resource, but they’re very much for humans to use. URLs should be hackable, guessable, readable.

 

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