I was reading Raj Dash’s post “41 Reasons Why Your Blog Probably Sucks.” Reason number 30 sticks out to me: Unfriendly URLs.
He’s talking about blogs, specifically, but this is a battle I fight every day with web applications.
When we build new services and deploy new applications we have a choice. Do we make the users remember some awful URL, or do we use DNS and web redirects & aliases to simplify things?
Here’s an example from my life. Someone in my organization thinks it’s okay to make people remember this URL in order to do their time reporting:
If I’m on a machine where I don’t have that URL bookmarked I won’t be able to find it. I have to ask someone, look in documentation, or call a Help Desk, all of which makes me feel like an idiot. Like most others, I don’t like feeling like an idiot. Why couldn’t they have registered something easy to remember, like:
as a virtual host and redirected me to the right place?
This also goes for http:// vs. https://, too. If you want your service to use SSL then make it friendly for those people who just type time.company.com in their browser (which will always assume http://). Redirect them to the SSL side, rather than going nowhere or giving them an error.