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I'm creating a page that uses history.pushState() which is only supported by html5 browsers. As such, should users of older browsers have a different experience? Here are two options that I can think of:

  • html5_user hits a button on /blah/ (some js happens) and he gets a pushState to /blah/page2/
  • IE6_user hits a button on /blah/ (some js happens) and he gets a hash of /blah/#page2/

  • html5_user hits a button on /blah/ (some js happens) and he gets a pushState to /blah/page2/
  • IE6_user hits a button on /blah/ (some js happens) and he gets a js command of location.href = /blah/page2/

The advantage of the first way is that the IE6 user doesn't need a pageload also it's easier to program as I can leave the heavy PHP stuff alone, and the advantage of the second way is that the url always looks consistent.

Which technique is better?

Also is there another way to do this?

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Ideally IE6_user hits a button and is impaled on a large spike for using IE6 –  Ben Brocka Mar 29 '12 at 21:25
    
IE6_user enters website and is instantly prompted to download and install FF/Chrome. I thought Ben was a little violent in his suggestion, all be it they probably deserve it. –  AndroidHustle Mar 30 '12 at 7:29
    
Ideally IE6_user hits a button and Google Chrome is being downloaded and installed. –  Bart Gijssens Mar 30 '12 at 8:46
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2 Answers

I would advocate that – unless your users are really tech-savvy (which would mean they're probably not using IE6 anyways) – the URL would be of no importance to them. So approach #1 should be perfectly okay.

The only thing that really matters here from the UX perspective is bookmarkability of the links.

So no matter if I send my buddy a link to http://yourdomain.com/blah/page2/ or http://yourdomain.com/blah/#page2/, he should end up in a consistent application state – preferably even the same application state that I was in when I copied the link.

tl;dr: You need not worry about visual consistency of the URLs, as long as you ensure state consistency no matter which variant is used.

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+1 and I agree that the URL is not really important. @qwertymk: How about the balance b/w value of this solution (what percentage of your users use old browsers vs. effort and pageload)? –  greenforest Mar 29 '12 at 21:22
    
@user12999: No idea, the site isn't done yet –  qwertymk Mar 30 '12 at 11:50
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i would definitely go over persistent url , at the end whats important is that the user is redirected to a proper page through url, not matter how url is written. user will not see the url anyway, it would only matter for him to have a proper page! and sorry i dont see any other method since you have already covered both IE and other browsers!.

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