Pretty URLs (or Aamulehti redesign)

My almost weekly series of (failed or bad) finnish redesigns continues. This time my local newspaper, Aamulehti, decided to jump in the social train, big time.

Social software and Web 2.0, yeah, great things. But – should be applied carefully!

First things first, I use Firefox as my browser. I also have the marvellous adblock -plugin installed and basically all the finnish ad servers blocked.

Anyway, pretty URLs¨(Uniform Resource Locators). What does it actually mean? URL is “in normal” use the address for certain web page. (I’ll use URI, Uniform Resource Identifier, in this posting as almost the same as URL). For example URL for this page is:
http://ilkka.kaikuvuo.com/2008/06/pretty-urls-or…lehti-redesignpretty-urls-or-aamulehti-redesign/
, where http is the used protocol, kaikuvuo.com is the domain name and stuff after it represents the structure of the site (used to be folder structure, nowadays is something completely different).

Anyway, pretty URLs? Human readable URLs?

The above example is pretty clear, domain is ilkka.kaikuvuo.com, then comes the year, month and the title of this posting. Pretty pretty? (Also nice for search engines!)

Sidenote: do read the “Cool URIs don’t change!

Ok, back to Aamulehti.

Why do I think the redesign sucks?

  • URIs are not that pretty. For example the front page’s address (cool URI is http://www.aamulehti.fi) is:
    http://www.aamulehti.fi/cs/Satellite?pagename=KAL_newssite/GoToHomepage
  • Front page is full of ads (except that it isn’t, thanks to Adblock) or empty space (using Adblock)
  • Site is very, very heavy with all the AJAX goodness
  • Lue lisää (Read more) -links used heavily on every page – WTF? Basic thing: don’t use phrases such as “read more” in links. Is bad for screen readers, is bad for search engines is bad for (list continues)
  • News on the front page are cropped automatically, which results in awkward sentences and so on.
  • Redesign caused the pages to crash (hey yeah, lot of requests? Get used to it!) for hours.

Bah. I don’t seem to have the energy to rant anymore, I give up. (Could go on and on about the blogs and everything).

There are some good and nifty features too, at Aamulehti.fi. But as the Site is down, no report on them. Perhaps later.

More redesigns that suck:www. hel.fi (the city of Helsinki) reports as follows:

15.06.08 Hel.fi pages were transferred on a new technical platform

The City of Helsinki web pages www.hel.fi were transferred on a new technical platform during week 25. All the URL addresses of the pages changed.

Did I say something about cool URIs earlier?

Could someone please, please, give me a great redesign? A finnish one?

Please?

Pretty please?

(Small editorial comment: I’ll add some screen grabs if the site works for an hour or two in a row…)

2 thoughts on “Pretty URLs (or Aamulehti redesign)

  1. I guess there is at least someone in Almamedia that can make wise decisions as the old version has been restored. Hopefully this isn’t a temporary solution.

  2. Hmm, smells like a rollback to me. I think the stuff already hit the fan, but at least juhannus is saved – they’ll be back next week!

    I only wonder did they test the site with max load (or at all) or was this yet another IT-project where someone else said what can be done and when? (I’d wager on the latter – business over testing.)

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