File Under: Web Basics

Do URLs Matter to Normal People?

As web developers, we all care about URLs. When Google complained about URL rewriting, many balked. We may work late to get everything just so, but URLs don’t matter a bit to most people.

When I ask my Dad to go to a specific URL in his browser he says, “I don’t use a browser. I just use my email and eBay.” A friend’s mom thinks Yahoo is the internet.

So, it’s really a stubborn expectation that everyone should be like me that keeps me caring about URLs. Sam Phillips asks how friendly will a URL ever be? He starts by admitting he is “an address bar guy.” I think a lot of us are, but normal people are search bar people.

URLs are out in JapanIn Japan, many advertisements contain search boxes instead of URLs. Are marketers just mockup happy, or do they have a clue that will be slow to sink in for developers like us?

The number of people who search Google for “google.com” is increasing. Firefox is evolving based on how people search. In addition to the awesome bar, Mozilla says future versions will see the search and address bars merged.

Normal people have a different view of the web than we do, but it’s a view to which we need to adapt.

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