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Frequently after logging in a website - specially old ones - I see the following:

Welcome! You are being redirected, please click here if your browser does not redirect you.

And similar pages whenever clicking on a link or sending a form. Why do developers use those?

At first I thought they didn't want to use Javascript/Ajax, but they could simply reload the current page with a welcome message - not only that, there's usually some javascript on the "you are being redirected" page itself, like a spinning loading wheel. So I thought it could be spam control, but I can think of at least three better and simpler ways of doing it. DDoS control, perhaps? But that wouldn't do it if only some pages throw you at the "redirecting" page. So why make the user wait n seconds?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Generally there are two reasons (from my experience):

  1. You got to the page via a link and that page either doesn't exist anymore, or was moved. If it doesn't exist anymore, you will sometimes get redirected higher in the navigation stack (Apple does this with their documentation, sending users to a ore filled search of related/similar pages, if you're lucky). If it has been moved due to a change in the IA of the site, it may be in a "sun setting" period wherein the user is moved from the old URL to the new - to slowdown and stop further propagation of the old link. After the sun setting period that redirect page will be dropped for either a 404 page; or, the higher level search concept.
  2. Depending on the type of form you are filling out, there may be a process which must be run without user interaction; however, these rarely have the option to click the link.

Of course, with the latter part of the first reason, there must also be a process in place to stop this sort of thing and take the page down altogether. Either a date or a "when less than X users land on this page in a month, we can take it down" - so, sometimes a well intentioned change management consideration may never get fully resolved to the new way of things.

Hope that helps.

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I've wondered this myself and think the answer differs depending on the situation, but in general I think the point is to aid with navigation. i.e. an effort to not disorientate users.

As your question suggests, it's more prominent in older sites, and as such, has become an dated practice.

The point, as I see it, is to warn the user to expect a change in environment (because of a site redesign/refresh), or a switch between subdomains (big change in URL), which otherwise may cause them to question the move.

These days developers tend to redirect at the DNS or server level, and so we see less of this on-page redirection.

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