How do you take one of the most boring household staples and turn it into something awesome? Turn ‘em into robots, that’s how. These robot salt and pepper shakers may not do your laundry or make you breakfast, but they sure can make your dinner table look awesome.
One of the most well-respected Usability publications on the web, UX Magazine recently made an affront against the URL bar. The article author, Devin Coldewey illustrates a bold proposal for replacing URLs with website navigation.
The article sparked a lot of intrigue and caught a bit of heat. In this post I’ll share my take and observations on the matter.
Replacing Your Location Bar
The proposed system would move URL data to a standardized meta tag within website code, which would look something like this:
And could generate breadcrumb-style navigation and other dynamic data as shown in this example:
The idea is intriguing and would definitely be beneficial to users navigating websites internally. It could even spark the rise of some new unified layer of the web for website navigation. Though I doubt it will be seen in your browser anytime soon.
Public Speaks Out In Defense of URLs
What I would like you to take away from this post is that domain names and URLs are a much needed, useful and valuable part of both the infrastructure of the web and the browsing experience.
The proposal sparked a lot of conversation and positive remarks, though many more people opened up to respectfully disagree.
I’d like to share these interesting quotes from public comments in response to the UX Magazine article.
The URL…is the single greatest innovation of the web. A simple string can pass through literally any human communication system. Speech, print, text messaging, anything. – neilk
…the URL bar, if used properly by the website, can be extremely useful. – Sunny Singh
There is also the matter of phishing which a transparent URL scheme, and better user awareness, can help in. We don’t want to hide the URL. – Paul M. Watson
They’re simple strings. You can bookmark them, copy them and send them to people. – 
The URL bar has a useful, standardized, documented purpose. Please don’t try to turn a hammer into a screwdriver. – Bernadette
URLs are the definitive indication of location on the net, and any obfuscation of them would be detrimental to location awareness. – telic
URLs are brilliant because they are separate from navigation; that’s a feature, not a bug. – neilk
The Url is the foundation of the hyperlink, and the hyperlink is the innovation that glues the entire WWW together. – brc
How About a Compromise?
A few other commentators and another UX Magazine author proposed adding dynamic functionality to the URL itself.
The example given is that sub-folders could be clickable and function as alternate means of navigation. I think this is a better concept. A useful Firefox plugin called Locationbar2 (shown left) is already moving in that direction.
In fact, I wouldn’t mind having the full unified navigation, so long as it was placed below my URL bar.
Ultimately, the responsibility lies with the website owner to optimize their domain name, URLs and navigation.
What side of the fence are you on? Do you think browser developers should change how we browse the web or will URLs be the standard for years to come? I’m interested to read your comments.
Capture the web quickly and easily. Pixlr Grabber is a browser extension for both Firefox and Google Chrome developed by Pixlr, a slick web based image editing solution.
The Pixlr Grabber extension helps you take screenshots of selected portions or entire webpages. You can then save to your computer, upload to the web or immediately share your screenshots with friends.
The Twitter app I’ve been waiting for is finally being developed. KeepStream is a new startup that aims to help you organize your favorite twitter updates. You may have noticed it in the latest DotSauce Link Roundup.
You can select tweets from your public timelines, your own stream, a search, a Twitter list or your starred favorites. Tweets with links in them can optionally feature full titles and short descriptions of the destination pages.
Tweets are saved within a nicely formatted list that is shareable and embeddable. Here is a live example:
Hot off the presses! Automattic has just announced this exciting social sharing plugin today.
Sharedaddy is for both WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress blogs. The plugin places buttons below your post that enable readers to quickly share posts on social networks, bookmarking services or directly to a friend’s email. The option is also available to add additional services.
View this video for a quick walk-through of the Sharedaddy administration or see the plugin in action below this post.
Stay Tuned For More
I hope you found these new apps and plugins for bloggers as useful as I did. Stay tuned to DotSauce for upcoming collections of useful new apps for social media and business soon.
If you have friends who are fellow bloggers, consider being one of the first to put the new Sharedaddy plugin to good use. Thanks!
Microsoft Corp is hoping to reverse the recent slump in video games and kickstart the holiday shopping season as it launches the latest version of its blockbuster Halo video game early on Tuesday.
Halo: Reach, the fourth in the popular series that pits the player against murderous aliens in a variety of settings, will be available from midnight in stores across the United States.
The game has sold more than 34 million copies in the nine years of its life — boosting the popularity of Microsoft’s Xbox console — helping the world’s largest software company grab a slice of the $20 billion U.S. video game business.
The new Halo: Reach, technically a prequel to the main Halo narrative, has better graphics, more complex fighting scenarios and new ways of playing with others online, which analysts say could bring some excitement back to the slack video game business.
New artificial “skin” fashioned out of flexible semiconductor materials can sense touch, making it possible to create robots with a grip delicate enough to hold an egg, yet strong enough to grasp the frying pan, U.S. researchers said on Sunday.
Scientists have long struggled with a way to make robotic devices capable of adjusting the amount of force needed to hold and use different objects. The pressure-sensitive materials are designed to overcome that challenge.
“Humans generally know how to hold a fragile egg without breaking it,” said Ali Javey, an electrical engineer at the University of California Berkeley, who led one of two teams reporting on artificial skin discoveries in the journal Nature Materials.
“If we ever wanted a robot that could unload the dishes, for instance, we’d want to make sure it doesn’t break the wine glasses in the process. But we’d also want the robot to be able to grip a stock pot without dropping it,” Javey said in a statement.
Javey’s team found a way to make ultra tiny “nanowires” from an alloy of silicon and germanium. Wires of this material were formed on the outside of a cylindrical drum, which was then rolled onto a sticky film, depositing the wires in a uniform pattern.
Welcome to the third edition of the @DotSauce Twitter link roundup where I share a selection of tweets that represent some of the top news and resources related to the domain industry, web development, WordPress, online marketing, social media and more.
I encourage you to click through and read the articles and resources that interest you most. Feel free to share them with your own following. ReTweets are greatly appreciated.
This roundup features news of interest from the domain industry, the latest from DotSauce Magazine and other unique takes on domain names.
Lots of great WordPress resources and a couple great articles on new web technologies and techniques.
Several must-read articles and valuable resources for boosting online business and improving your presence on social networks.