Importance of Permalinks

HFI is a leading usability and human factors consultancy. So I was a little surprised when I came across a small blunder. An example which illustrates the importance of permalinks. Also the importance of experience design.
The page I am talking about is the UI design newsletter page. I got to this page from google search. After glancing through the newsletter I wanted to see the past issues. Near the PDF file icon, there is a links which says, “back to past issues”. What would you expect to happen when you click this link? You expect to see the past issues page.. right? Now click on the image to go to the page, and see what happens.

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If you clicked on the image and then clicked on the “back to past issues”, you would have come back exactly to this page. Because the link that it uses is a javascript link.

<a href="javascript:history.go(-1)">Back to Past Issues</a>

This just uses browser history to find out which was the last page and opens that. Either this is a small slip-up or whoever decided to use the javascript link assumed that the user will only come to that page from the HFI site. In fact people can come to that page from any search engine or any other site/blog where it is linked. Ideally the back buttons should have the link for the list page for the newsletters. The URL could be something like,
<a href="http://www.humanfactors.com/downloads/newsletters">Back to Past Issues</a>

This example illustrates how even technology overlaps into user experience design.

1 thought on “Importance of Permalinks”

  1. hmm pretty interesting . Its like finding Blunders to skip mistakes that have little effect on the outcome, allowing you to focus on the moves that really mattered.

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