I'm reading Jakob Nielsen's Homepage Usability, and one of the points Jakob stresses to death is the importance of clean, memorable home page URLs. A snippet from the book:
Once users locate a website, a simple homepage URL helps them quickly understand that they are in the right place, whereas complex URLs can make them wonder if they're indeed on the correct page...It is especially startling when users enter a simple URL and get to a site, only to have the URL they typed replaced by a long, scary-looking URL.
Although I think Jakob can be somewhat militant, I agree completely on this point. It's jarring and bookmark-unfriendly to have a URL change in front of your eyes. It's like having the carpet pulled out from under you.
I found a few news sites that do this and have listed them here. The URL I typed in is first, and the rewritten URL is second.
- suntimes.com -- suntimes.com/index/
- espn.com -- msn.espn.go.com/main.html
- seattletimes.com -- seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/home/
- nationalpost.com -- nationalpost.com/home/
- miami.com -- www.miami.com/mld/miami/ (And other RealCities sites)
- phoenix.bizjournals.com -- phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/ (And other bizjournals.com sites)
- philstar.com -- philstar.com/philstar/index.htm
- hollywoodreporter.com -- www.hollywoodreporter.com/hollywoodreporter/index.jsp
- bbj.hu -- www.bbj.hu/user/index.asp
- 7online.com -- abclocal.go.com/wabc/ (And other ABC TV Web sites)
- ajc.com -- www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/ (And other Cox sites)
"No, Please" Department
- anchoragepress.com -- www.anchoragepress.com/index.cfm?redirect=yes
- eldia.com -- 188.8.131.52/
- hammondstar.com -- www.zwire.com/site/news.asp?brd=1423
- bermudasun.org -- www.bermudasun.bm/cgi-local/home.pl