I recently read a fascinating post entitled “URLs are for People, not Computers”. It references a research study by Microsoft which showed that people spend almost a quarter of their time looking at URLs when looking at search engine results. The article goes on to talk about how people use URLs to decide on whether to click on them and how URLs can be created to look friendly to users, and not just search engines. It talks about how so many URLs are still messy and hard for people to read.
Key points include:
- URLs which are nicely organized enable people to “hack” them to find what they’re looking for by removing or changing parts of the URL.
- URLs can help you see relevance of content – either by including the date, and/or the post title in it.
The number of times I look at, and change, URLs in order to find what I’m looking for is significant. It frustrates me when blog posts don’t include the date in the permalink; it makes it harder for me to determine how current the information in it is. While newer is not always better, tutorials for how to do things can often quickly become incorrect.
There’s plenty of other messy little things online. I have this habit of always noticing incorrect spelling and grammar on websites – particularly professional ones. The ones which stand out to me the most are those which are inside graphics on a site, so aren’t as quickly fixable.
I also have a weird habit of looking at the background of photos people upload online — and I’m not looking for photobombs! I don’t just look at the subject, I’m curious about what their house is like, whether the TV is on, how much paperwork is piled up in the background, how tidy things are etc etc. I really love looking at candid shots of decor and life in real houses: what real life is like, compared to Pinterest and blog photos where everything seems placed and staged for a photoshoot. To be clear, I’m not looking to judge, I just love the realness of backgrounds. Real life is messy.
I read SF Girl by Bay‘s blog post on how our lives online are edited lives which aren’t as messy as real lives:
“life is not as perfect as it may appear in social media… we are our own worst editors. predominantly, we’re not sharing the lousy days, or the piles of laundry, or mascara running down our faces because we’re sad, or lonely or just having a really crap day, week, or month. we’re putting out there this message that life is just so pretty and so perfect and here i am having yet another amazing time with all my many friends — lalalala. this is not reality. social media is very often creating a faux reality that makes people feel really left out, and that’s not something i feel good about.
i’m probably going to continue to post lots of pretty images on instagram and tweet the madcap, great sides of life… but i want you to remember when i share them, that they are just snapshots. they are not the whole picture. they are a slice of life that in that moment, yes, is quite lovely. but real life is just not always like that and these moments are fleeting. of course there are lots of crazy happy moments, i’m not saying they don’t exist, but it’s always a balance and i wanted to present that in an honest light.”
231 people have commented to date. People like honesty, rawness and passion and the mess showing just a little bit too.
This is the stuff of blogs which I love too. No matter how much I turn to Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, I’m constantly directed back to the content creators: bloggers.
I really dislike mess but I’m living with a decent amount of it at the moment. I struggle with my inner organizer and need to be patient and pace myself. We’re still going through the boxes of things from our move and there’s a lot left to go through. I have two boys who love to pull put out boxes of lego, or discover a box of cocktail umbrellas to play with on the floor, or make popcorn out of broken up pieces of acorns. I need to let go a little more and be OK with a little mess on display.