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Evolving The URL Bar On Web Browsers

A look at how simple changes to the address bar could improve a user's experience.

Francisco Hui
Francisco Hui on September 17, 2010.

A recent article from UX Magazine examines the potential benefits to re-imagining the information displayed within address bars on web browsers.

Currently URLs are displayed as a string of characters that are mostly incomprehensible to the user.

As an example for a product on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Bialetti-Express-6-Cup-Stovetop-Percolator/dp/B000CNY6UK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=kitchen&qid=1280010827&sr=1-1

The author suggests potential issues to consider:

What’s critical? What’s secret? Will this link work for a friend? And what part shows where the user currently is, where he came from, and where he can go?

The initial recommendation is to standardize and allocate the URL space to be used as breadcrumb navigation. Besides reducing visual clutter, users might have a better understanding their position within a website. Google Chrome’s browser combines the search and address bar, suggesting that there might be more interesting uses for this ignored space.

UX Magazine: “Making the URL Bar Useful Again: Where the breadcrumb should have been all along”

Thinking...