Forum : New Feature Suggestions/Requests

Do you have an idea for an awesome feature we should add… or hate the way we’re currently doing something? Share your ideas and suggestions here.


Topic: Human-friendly URLs

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Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
ThomasKrueger.eu posted a suggestion similar to this, here: http://photosynth.net/discussion.aspx?cat=01b6f15f-42eb-49cb-a221-ed56615e1c47&dis=28f05ff3-c54e-4ce4-b4cf-7faf975afa94 but his request was primarily about his synths being bubbled up to the top of the search results in search engines.


My request is simply that all photosynth.net URLs be simplified so that casual users can very easily remember addresses and type them in on interfaces that take more time to type with.

What I mean is that even to come to the forum, the URL is not something easy like

http://photosynth.net/forum

but instead, you must type in the page extension: http://photosynth.net/forum.aspx This is just laborious and harder and uglier than it ought to be.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
This goes for profile URLs as well. I understand how natural it must be to programmers to have the URL be a query passing a parameter to a dynamic page, but this is not what general users want to see.

Compare the ease and simplicity of 

http://photosynth.net/nathanael

to how it currently is: 
http://photosynth.net/userprofilepage.aspx?user=Nathanael

There's just no contest. Who would want to type the second, when you could just type the first? Also, please don't do something that's close, but still longer than it should be, such as: http://photosynth.net/users/nathanael This just isn't good enough.

If you do update to simple URLs like this, older links should still redirect to the new friendly URLs.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
I know that not every URL can be simplified (I listed problems with using word URLs for synth pages on Thomas' discussion), but why not save a few characters in synth URLs by simply having them be 

http://photosynth.net/GUID
rather than:
http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=GUID ?
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
I'm also still not ready to let the Direct3D viewer go, but I wish that it were a little easier to modify normal URLs to D3D URLs. Ideally, I would just need to insert /d3d into a URL, rather than type out a different page title as well.

Taking existing URLs, I wish that the D3D page and the silverlight page were just in the same folder. If they're both using resources with identical names but different contents, though, I understand them being in different folders.
adrian.info (Over 1 year ago)
I like this idea, especially the user page... this will allow user to share their synth collection easier, without having to use url shortener.  Though something like http://photosynth.net/user/nathanael would cause less of a hassle to implement (e.g. what if a username is mypage.aspx).
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Adrian, reading back over this again today, I see your point about users choosing page document titles and extensions for their username, however I think that is something of an edge case, similar to a Twitter user joining with the username 'search' or 'mentions'.

If you absolutely must use subdirectories, although 'users' is shorter, I like what Get Satisfaction did in using 'people' instead. e.g. http://getsatisfaction.com/people/nathanael To my mind, this is just friendlier and gives more dignity to the humans who will be served by the service.
CqCasting (Over 1 year ago)
May I make a recommendation? http://tinyurl.com/2a6dd5u
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
@CqCasting: I don't mean to be overly harsh, but recommendation rejected. 

If I want to use URL-shorteners, I'll use my http://bit.ly account to create custom short URLs such as http://bit.ly/orbitalsynthd3d or http://bitly.com/nathanaelphotosynth . 

I do love URL-shorteners for what they allow for me (at least the ones which allow you to customize what comes after the domain name) and use them prolifically as my own personal bookmark system. For example, it is much easier to remember http://bit.ly/blackribbon or http://bit.ly/microsoftice than the addresses which those links redirect to. The value for me is not primarily or merely fewer characters, but meaningful and memorable characters.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
This discussion is not about URL shorteners, but rather about the actual URLs throughout the entire Photosynth website being well designed to be human-friendly. My petition is for simple URLs which humans can easily memorize and type without copying and pasting. 

In the same way that I make my own bit.ly links memorizable, it is my desire and expectation that every website designer does this for their own site, so that readers and users of that site can type the address of any main page on the site just by thinking of what they want to link to. I am often horrified by websites which are constructed of beautiful looking pages in the main window, but where all the site URLs are long or complicated or ugly. It is just as important for the links to the pages to be beautiful and elegant.

For me, there is nothing memorable about "2a6dd5u". It is, in some ways, even worse than "userprofilepage.aspx?user=".
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
I was encouraged, when previewing the HTML5 panorama viewer (available when you browse the site on an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch - or when you change your browser's user agent to report itself as an iPad) to see that Adrian or others on the team had kept this suggestion in mind and that the URL in the address bar was now following something much closer to the http://photosynth.net/GUID format which I proposed above.

Example: 
Existing desktop link to a panorama of mine: 
http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=fb46dad2-6b11-4ef0-971e-826c87ed5d9b

As it appears on an iOS device's browser: 
http://photosynth.net/view/fb46dad2-6b11-4ef0-971e-826c87ed5d9b

I will grant that the GUID is still not something memorizable, but even a small improvement is an improvement nonetheless.
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