The blog software WordPress is just released in version 2.3. One of the new additions are a feature that can rescue and correct links when users accidentally follow a link in an email broken over 2 lines. Or following an old link that the blog author has renamed.
We’ve cleaned up URLs a bunch in a feature we call canonical URLs which does things like enforce your no-www preference, redirect posts with changed slugs so a link never goes bad, redirect URLs that get cut off in emails on similar to the correct post, and much more. This helps your users, and it also helps your search engine optimization, as search engines like for each page to be available in one canonical location. More info here.
Error prevention is a big issue for me. Here the software can prevent possible errors (of outdated links), and “heal” the website, so that the user is less likely to run into errors.
An example from the physical world is power plugs: The holes in the walls are so small that it’s impossible to put a finger into it. Possible dangers are prevented, and thus the world is safer. Broken links are an annoyance (luckily not a danger), and with the wordpress functionality another annoyance is avoided.
Great work, WordPress developers!
- WordPress blog: WordPress 2.3
- Wikipedia: Link rot
- Jakob Nielsen: Fighting Linkrot (1998)
- John Rhodes (Webword): Web sites that heal (2002)