Forget email design, what about URL design?

Latest posts | Feed | By Mark Brownlow

There's more to a web address than meets the eye. One issue skipped over in pretty much every discussion of email design is that of URL design. How might the look and feel of a link impact on the reader? Especially in text-only messages.

Turns out there's a whole science dedicated to this. A good URL can:

> Reinforce a brand message
> Help orientate the reader
> Provide text clues to the destination page's content and value
> Indicate important content relationships
> Remain relevant and recognisable over a long period of time

Compare, for example...

http://www.brandk.com/land.php?123456

...with...

http://www.brandk.com/rings/coupon/

With the prevalence of third-party tracking links in email, URL design gets a little tricky and limited. But at least it's worth remembering in the context of landing pages.

What if we could personalize that landing page URL in a more meaningful way? Could the landing page be:

http://www.brandk.com/rings/coupon/justformark/

How does that compare to:

http://www.brandk.com/land.php?123456 ?

Much of the discussion around this topic centers on website navigation, but a lot is applicable to email. Try these resources for some tips and ideas...

Design patterns for URLs
Making URLs accessible
A BBC presentation on what makes a good URL
URLs as UI
URL principles
User-centered URL design

If anyone has their experience to pass on, I'd welcome it. Looks like a niche topic worth exploring...every little bit helps.

Update: Mike Schinkel takes the above post and makes some insightful comments here. His whole blog covers URL design, so if the topic tweaks your interest, be sure to bookmark that.

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Permalink | March 29, 2007 | 0 comment(s)
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