Brendan Dawes

Analogue + Digital


I Heart URLs

When I’m asked to give an example of a beautiful piece of design, perfect in form and function, I often respond with “the URL.”

The Uniform Resource Locator — that humble string of characters that sits in the top of your browser — is to me something to aspire to. Its form is constructed from its function, each slash-separated-section being the structure of the website you’re currently browsing. It’s part way-finding and part navigation system; remove one of those slash separated sections and you move back through the whole structure. It’s beautiful in its simplicity. When I was starting out learning web design the URL — along with View Source — was key to my learning, like a slightly open door that when pushed on would reveal a further path to wander down.

Yet there have been conversations and suggestions about removing this wonderful piece of design, with space saving often being cited as the reason why. To me it’s just another example of trying to make people become consumers rather than creators. Yes, I understand that the majority of people that use the web don’t care about the beauty contained in a URL, and I’m pretty sure that my father-in-law pays it no attention with his ongoing mission to seemingly print out the Internet, but it should be there, if only to encourage people to have their curiosity peeked and say “What if?”