Making a page too dynamic
MyLocalPark.com has a feature where a visitor can choose to jump to a randomly selected park. The way this initially worked was the “random”-link simply selected a park at random, and build the park-screen. The “random”-link’s URL looked like this:
The problem with this design was that if the visitor navigated to another screen, and then used their browser’s back-button, they were presented with an entirely new park each time they returned. This effectively broke the browser’s back-button, and my focus group displayed quite a bit of confusion (yes I did, and continue to, use a focus group. They’re a small group of friends and family who agreed to help unpaid, and to whom I am very grateful).
In any case, I knew we had to change this functionality, and did so first thing. The change was simple, the code now does an HTTP-redirect to the actual park-screen of the randomly selected park. That URL looks like something this:
I did worry over this change before implementation. Redirects, especially temporary redirects, are considered bad form by some pundits of “good web design”. But I finally decided that this was a proper use of the functionality.
My focus group appreciated the change. They’re happy, I’m happy, and now I just hope the general public will be happy.