cara peterson, user experience designer
Working in User Experience since 2002, focusing on web application interfaces. Along the way I picked up a tip or two. The key is to keep learning while having some fun in the process. Writing it down helps me remember. Here is what I learned recently.
Dashes vesus Underscores
This is the article subtitle. This is the article subtitle.
There are various choices for formatting file names for web pages: filename.html, file_name.html, file-name.html and file name.html (though you should stay away from spaces). Search engines do considered the keywords in the file name because, in theory the file name represents the content to be found there. The weight they place on those particular keywords is up for debate.
Depending on your content management process (either manually updated files or software assisted) the file names may be in your control or not. In the ideal situation you'll have control over the file naming convention where you can create "search engine friendly" URLs. We know having keywords in the file name is useful, but does the use of dashes, underscores, spaces, etc. really matter?
Apparently it does. According to Matt Cutts, insider at Google, the search engine views words with dashes ( - ) and underscores differently ( _ ). The search engine translates file_name as "filename" and file-name as "file name". I have no idea why they would interpret the two formats differently. Do we care?
We should because odds are if the keywords in question are actually two words, it should be represented as such. If the word was a compound word, you wouldn't have been using the separating character in the first place, right? Also, if you think about it from a user's perspective, it's easier to type a dash than an underscore. So you are winning on both the Search Engine and User fronts.
So in the debate of Dashes or Underscores, dashes win.
Encompasses the overall experience and satisfaction the user has when using a website, software application or even a product. Includes look and feel (visual appearance), interaction, and assistance capabilities.
Structuring knowledge or data, often in the context of user interactions. For example, organize the information in a way that makes sense for the user to browse and search on a website.