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When viewing hyperlinks, users are not able to see the URL or destination host, only the text that the poster decided to write. For example: gee, I wonder where this link goes...

I consider this an issue because:

  • Mobile users are unable to hover over links to see the destination.
  • URL text alone can be vague or misleading in regards to the destination.
  • Sites may contain objectionable content that is NSFW.
  • Users may object to visiting certain sites (for instance I avoid visiting w3schools when possible, as I don't like to give them ad revenue).
  • Having to hover over links to see where they go can be tedious.

I think the news aggregator site slashdot found the best solution to this issue by dynamically appending [domainName] after every url, for example: this is an article on patents [slashdot.org] and this is an op-ed on civil liberties [wired.com]. By appending the domain name after the URL text, users are able to discern at a glance whether or not they want to click on the link.

Could we please implement this functionality (or perhaps something similar) so URLs are more transparent to users?

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4  
What if I link to this site [thelongestdomainnameintheworldandthensomeandthensomemoreandmore.com]? –  animuson Mar 4 '12 at 5:03
1  
@animuson Sites like that are edge-cases, and the tremendous benefits to UX from appending the domain name far outweigh whatever readability issues this might cause (in my opinion, anyways). –  Moses Mar 4 '12 at 5:14
1  
Dear god that suggestion is ugly. I for one don't want to take any of the design of Stack Exchange from Slashdot. –  Cody Gray Mar 4 '12 at 7:54

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

I think this is a serious concern.

A better solution for mobile sites would be something more akin to what Reddit is Fun did. When you click on a post in Reddit is Fun you get three options:

  • Upvote / Downvote ( takes 50% of the left of a modal box )
  • Links ( if clicked on brings you to links )
  • Reply ( gives you the option to take part in a discussion )

This UI would work really well for Stack Overflow: reply would just have to have a second option if the target was a question (answer).

You can't see it in this screen shot only because the target is itself a link. If the target was a self-post on a reddit that contained links you see the button read links (plural) and if you'd click it on it you'd see the links that the post contained.

Reddit is Fun screen shot of modal dialog

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1  
That is an interesting solution. My biggest problem was that mobile users had no reasonable way to see the link addresses, so I have no issue with making this a mobile-only solution. –  Moses Mar 4 '12 at 5:25
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Yes, this is what Stack Exchange is missing... More Reddit. –  Cody Gray Mar 4 '12 at 7:55
2  
@CodyGray so you don't care for Slashdot OR Reddit. Are you sure you like using the internet? ;-) –  jcolebrand Mar 6 '12 at 15:05

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