Designer News vs GitHub: Profile URL Design

over 5 years ago from , Web/UI Designer

Just noticed the difference between Designer News and GitHub profile URLs:



Ironic, isn't it? The website focused on design has a much less "pretty" URL.

Update: If you leave off the https:// of a Designer News profile, it will redirect to: https://www.designernews.co/u/12345. It's shorter... but removes the name of the profile. Still not better than GitHub's.


  • Clay MacTavishClay MacTavish, over 5 years ago

    Honestly, who gives a shit.

    44 points
  • Axel ValdezAxel Valdez, over 5 years ago

    We should also take into account that in Github, profiles are one of the most important parts of the website, while at Designer News they're not that useful/important.

    24 points
  • Ben BleikampBen Bleikamp, over 5 years ago

    A post you might enjoy: http://warpspire.com/posts/url-design

    4 points
    • Brandon Zell, over 5 years ago

      That was a good read. Thanks for sharing.

      Interesting that he mentions you should use dashes and avoid underscores. The one multi-word link in DN's nav uses underscores: /hall_of_fame

      0 points
      • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, over 5 years ago

        curious why he made that note. personally i prefer underscores because a double-click selects the whole segment, easier to copy.

        1 point
        • Brandon Zell, over 5 years ago

          Functionally, you make a great point. That reminds me, BEM does this too: Blocks and elements are separated by a double underscore, and multiple-word elements are joined with dashes (e.g. .block__item-name). As you mention, this makes it impossible to quickly select by double-clicking.

          For URLs, apparently dashes are preferred because Google will interpret words separated by underscores as a single word (i.e. "hall_of_fame" = "halloffame"). So we opt for worse user experience in order to rank better... Turns out Matt Cutts tried to get Google to interpret underscores as separators, just like dashes, but it was never implemented.

          1 point
        • Kyle NeathKyle Neath, over 5 years ago

          There's quite a few reasons, but here's a few that are still on my mind:

          • The vast majority of internet users do not really know that underscore is a character. If you're making a TV/Radio/Podcast commercial, and say "underscore" most interpret that to be "underline" and do not know how to type that into the URL

          • Everyone knows what a dash is, it doesn't require a modifier key to type in. It's also in default keyboards on mobile (aka not behind the weird "symbols" third keyboard in iOS)

          • It's very common to use an underline to style URLs. Type has gotten better on the web since then, but it is still difficult to tell the difference between a space and an underscore in an underline style.

          • While some text editing modes do select the whole segment with an underscore and not a dash, some are opposite, some are neither. Very few computer users use this segment-but-not-whole-entity selection mode, or even know of its existence.

          • Over the past twenty years or so, web syntax (HTML, CSS, Javascript) has settled away from snake case and toward camel case and dash casing. Dash casing in particular works well in an acronym heavy environment like the web.

          2 points
  • Per VPer V, over 5 years ago

    I don't want to be a dick. But before DN focus on changing the URLs they should focus on their search and add an option to remove Medium links from the feed.

    3 points
  • Ariel VerberAriel Verber, over 5 years ago

    wait so are you saying that someone actually built a website that's related to design and it's not flawless because one of the urls there could be shorter? no f'ing way.

    2 points
    • Brandon Zell, over 5 years ago

      someone actually built a website

      Come on. This is Designer News, not someone's recently posted side-project.

      one of the urls

      All profile URLs are this way. Aside from possibly /stories/, they're the most numerous URLs on Designer News.

      I don't expect Designer News to be flawless. I'm not mad at them for having longer URLs for profiles. Just ran across this comparison and found it particularly ironic. It's ok to discuss this kind of thing.

      3 points
      • Nick NobleNick Noble, over 5 years ago

        Actually, for a long time Designer News was just someone's side project. That someone was Layervault. It no longer exists, and Andrew Wilkinson of Tiny Boards bought it and kept it going. Compared to Tiny Board's other ventures I'd be willing to bet that DN still is sort of a side project, high traffic or no.

        If you already knew all this, apologies – just saying context is important.

        0 points
        • Brandon Zell, over 5 years ago

          I was aware of some of the history, but not all. Thanks for adding more context!

          On Tiny's website it says they typically look for businesses with minimum profits of $500k. Made me wonder if Designer News was an exception. Makes sense that you would say DN might still be a side project. That's unfortunate, but I'm glad it didn't shut down when Layervault did.

          0 points
  • Ben Patterson, over 5 years ago

    I was going to write a post about the differences between engineering design and UI/UX design — but then I looked up GitHub on CrunchBase.

    Maybe when DN gets $350 million in funding they can shorten their URLs. Till then we'll just have to suffer, eh? The comparison is just not meaningful, for many reasons.

    0 points
    • Brandon Zell, over 5 years ago

      Designer News is owned by Tiny, so if it was something they cared about, they could make it happen. It's probably along the lines of what Axel said: Profiles aren't a large part of the experience at Designer News, so creating nice and short profile URLs isn't necessary (or possibly even wanted). If you take a look at Dribbble (where profiles matter much more), their profile URLs are structured the same as GitHub's. Makes sense.

      1 point