Browser: Path component of URL is hidden by default

Bug #1587321 reported by Jeroen Hoek on 2016-05-31
This bug affects 3 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Canonical System Image
Bill Filler
Ubuntu UX
webbrowser-app (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Current behaviour:

In the web browser the URL gets truncated to just the (sub)domain part. For example, the URL of the 'report a bug' form on Launchpad is:

What is displayed in the browser is:

The rest of the URL won't show until you touch the address bar. This behaviour is problematic, because it hides one of the primary attributes of the open web.

Expected behaviour:

By default the URL should not be hidden. Because space is constrained on the typical devices this browser is used on, the protocol part can be omitted by default, as long as the typical lock icon is present for HTTPS URL (see attached image). So by default:

On touch on the address bar:

I would recommend following the standard behaviour of modern web browsers to emphasize the domain part of the URL in black (with the rest of the URL in grey) as well.

Device: Meizu Pro 5 (OTA 10.2)

Jeroen Hoek (mail-jeroenhoek) wrote :
description: updated
Pat McGowan (pat-mcgowan) wrote :

This is the intended design afaik, will await feedback

Changed in canonical-devices-system-image:
assignee: nobody → Bill Filler (bfiller)
status: New → Incomplete
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in webbrowser-app (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Olivier Tilloy (osomon) wrote :

This could certainly be re-visited, but it is indeed implemented according to the current design specification.

Jeroen Hoek (mail-jeroenhoek) wrote :

It is an understandable design decision, and from an aesthetic standpoint truncating the URL does make sense.

My objection is twofold. One problem is that in my opinion truncating the URL limits the usability of the browser. Even though plenty of website do make a mess of anything behind the /, other websites and services do have understandable, bookmarkable URLs that aid the user in his or her browsing. Thankfully the URL is still a usable part of many websites, and modern Javasript frameworks too (traditionally the place where URLs were mangled for technical reasons) are now once again embracing proper and usable URLs (e.g., EmberJS).

Philosophically, I worry about hiding something as empowering and basic to the web as the URL. While I can sympathise with the notion that the path, query, and fragment parts of a HTTP URL are often technical details that may clutter the UI and confuse some users, I feel that hiding it is not in the spirit of the open web, and does not benefit users in the long run.

Olivier Tilloy (osomon) wrote :

Thanks for the detailed argumentation, your concerns make sense. Let’s see what the design team thinks.

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