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We usually aim for friendly (vanity) urls to help visitors identify where they are in the website, e.g. www.website.com/products/acme-product. But, are there standards here for search results?

At the moment our search results are something like this:

http://www.website.com/search?by=<category>=<selected_category>&<price_range>=<selected_price_range>

The search query string seems intuitive to me, but I am looking for some standards here - or, if it's been identified that we don't need to worry about intuitive URLs for search results.

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The by=<category>=<selected_category> is non standard. A standard form would be category=<selected_category>. Or in general base-url?param1=value1&param2=value2&param3=value3. –  Danny Varod Jul 10 '12 at 22:59
    
Making them pretty enough is nice, but I wouldn't risk making the back end (significantly) code more complicated to try and make search urls more readable; unlike static pages it's unlikely they'll ever be typed in or bookmarked (and if they are bookmarked, they still work, so what?) –  Ben Brocka Jul 11 '12 at 13:06
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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I recently did some research on that, and I came to the conclusion that the search urls needn't be accessible. It is surely nice to have them accessible like http://yourdomain.com/search?q=hello, but if you cannot manage that, it's no big issue.

How I came to these results:

There may be, however, other things which speak for considering an easy search url

  • If you want to make your search url an access point of your API, for example, developers are surely happy to have easy accessible urls

  • If you want to implement Open Search on your site so the user can use your site as a search engine in his/her browser, easily accessible urls reduce implementation time.

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It is important to stick to the search standards so that:

  1. Other utilities can search your sites. E.g. so that users can define (or add existing) search engine definitions to their browsers. (This is more of a SW API issue than a UX issue.)

  2. Advanced users can quickly edit the query.

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That's a good point. I use the Chrome address bar to search directly in many sites. When I have to add a new search engine, I appreciate the fact that the search URL is easy to read and edit. –  Pep López Jul 11 '12 at 19:46
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Why not continue the 'vanity' standard you established with your users else-ware in the site?

http://www.website.com/search/<selected_category>/<selected_price_range>

Use a url mapper to set the /<param>/ to be executed by convention. This should not a big technical challenge and services both the points brought up by: Danny Varod

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