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Neofiliac Adopts User-Friendly URLs for Article and Product Pages

Neofiliac | Published on 24 Jan 2021 | Written by Dr Jiulin Teng
Since we introduced Neofiliac, article and product pages all used their titles as part of their URLs. This has resulted in long links that some users consider unfriendly. Today, we have remapped the URLs that are more user friendly.

Neofiliac's URL Structure

Article and product pages on Neofiliac each has a unique ID. It is this ID that allows our server to route the pages. The texts appended after the ID are there for semantics, essentially helping the users to understand the content that the link points to. They do not play a part in routing. Hence, manually modifying the string after the ID in the browser's address bar would not affect page discovery.
This is a common way of robust routing. For example, many news organizations use a similar routing strategy:
/news/title-of-the-news-ID
Next time you visit a news site and see a series of numbers or seemingly-random strings, try to change the texts and see if the same page shows up.
Neofiliac is more transparent with using IDs. We essentially used:
/article/ID/article-title
Even though the content of the string after the ID does not matter, however, it is necessary. Neofiliac would return a 404 not found error if you attempt to access an article of product page without any string after the ID. This is because each article and product can have more pages attached to them. For example, the full list of articles related to a product can be found at:
/product/ID/product-name/article

Updating URLs Across Neofiliac

Because the product names and article titles can be long at times, an issue that we have encountered is that the browser would not display the entire link at the bottom left corner when the mouse hovers above it. This brings two negatives:
  1. For one, only part of the string is shown, contradicting its raison-d'être, which is to help users anticipate the content of the page.
  2. Further, when the link points to a related page, this fact is obfuscated.
In consideration of these concerns, we chose to use instead shortened titles rather than the full title in the URL.
Consequently, we have updated the canonical URLs for articles and products across Neofiliac while enforcing the new URL. We believe that this allows for a more consistent user experience.

Other News

In the next few weeks, Neofiliac will roll out the a product rating algorithm based on Natural Language Processing (NLP). It will collect third-party reviews (exclusive eCommerce reviews and anonymous sources) and opinions on social media and calculate a review score. Further updates will also present pros and cons of each product that have been discussed by these sources.

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