Solution Set

URL Shortcuts

A shortcut is an alternative short URL that is used when the complete URL for a resource would impact the usability of a printed publication.

In order to best orient visitors to the website, our convention is to name files and folders using descriptive names rather then abbreviations. This makes for readable page addresses and helps keep the breadcrumb navigation useful. However, this can also cause some lower-level pages to have long URLs which may not be suitable for some printed materials. Because of this a shortcut tool has been developed that will redirect certain keywords when placed after pcc.edu. For example visit: http://www.pcc.edu/scholarships

Recommendations (in order of preference)
  1. It is always preferred to use the complete address. Shortcuts depend on server-side scripting which requires extra resources and may be unavailable from time-to-time. Short addresses such as "www.pcc.edu/prepare/esol/" should be printed in full.

  2. At times it may be better to suggest an alternative to printing the complete address. This may help with the layout of a printed publication, with incorporating the link into the text, or with exposing the reader to a higher-level resource which may be of interest and includes a simple link to the final destination. For example to get to PCC Foundation scholarship information: "Go to http://www.pcc.edu/scholarships and choose the PCC Foundation Scholarships link". This exposes the reader to a more complete listing of scholarship information while still providing a simple path to specific information.

  3. If a shortcut is warranted, only one will be given. It becomes confusing when users are given several URLs that all lead back to the same place. Also, in order to remain useful, these shortcuts need to be used sparingly and only when needed.

Standards
  1. Only one shortcut is permitted for the same resource.

  2. Shortcuts link only to pages on the www.pcc.edu domain.

  3. Shortcuts link to gallery, or higher-level, pages. They do not link to lower-level pages.

  4. Shortcuts do not link directly to non-HTML pages (e.g., PDF, DOC).

  5. Shortcut keywords should be easily understood. The use of obscure abbreviations or acronyms needs to be avoided.

  6. Links on PCC web pages use the complete URL, not a shortcut.

Procedures
All requests for URL shortcuts must be submitted to the Web Team. The request needs to be submitted early in the process of defining a publication to ensure availability.
The use of shortcuts are logged by the server for reporting purposes. Shortcuts that are not used over a six month period may be removed. (If a visitor attempts to visit a page via the use of a shortcut when one does not exist or it has been removed, they will be directed to "page not found" information allowing them to search for the content of interest.)
Concerns regarding existing shortcuts should be directed to the Web Team. The Web Team and Marketing work collaboratively in resolving any issues.

Examples:

The following were requested for the same page:
  • www.pcc.edu/esol/
  • www.pcc.edu/ennl/
  • www.pcc.edu/esl/

Only www.pcc.edu/esol/ is needed.

Better yet:

http://www.pcc.edu/prepare/esol/

This URL is not considerably longer and better orients the viewer to the website.

Or,

http://www.pcc.edu/prepare/ and choose "English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)"

With this solution, the viewer is now exposed to potentially important related information and still quickly directed to the specific information.