Clean (Human-Readable) URLs

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  • Clean URLs on Wikipedia explains that clean URLs are intended to improve the usability and accessibility of a website or web service by being immediately and intuitively meaningful to non-expert users.
  • URLs as UI by Nielsen Norman Group describes what good clean URLs consist of and some of the reasons why you want to have them, all the way back in 1999.
  • [ UI/UX Principle #5: Don't Forget UX of Navigation and URLs by Jeff Dance of Fresh goes into more detail than the NNG article about the benefits of clean URLs.
  • URLs! URLs! URLs! on A List Apart describes one way to rewrite URLs using .htaccess files
  • How to succeed with URLs on A List Apart describes a second way using php

In short, the URL is the very first form of navigation that many users and search engines identify about a page. It provides A Sense of Place. I tells both the human and the machine, "this is what's here, this is the hierarchy of the site, and this is how you get to the thing."