[thelist] Separate landing pages -- and custom "home" links.

Barney Carroll barney.carroll at gmail.com
Fri Nov 5 14:47:31 CDT 2010

I think relying on front-end techniques would be a bad move — difficult to maintain, unreliable, and presenting a fundamental navigation model with an unnecessary conflation of content and function: I would handle this either through session IDs, or query strings (perhaps a better idea — copied or shared links would retain their original context) to be interpreted on the back-end — whichever the case, a generic variable string or function could then be used to output relevant links as and when they occur.

However I have to say that the information architecture may be fundamentally flawed — the notion of a home page is subverted by this model: are you sure you want to go to these elaborate and unconventional lengths to rob the user of an unambiguous introductory site root? I can understand a generic use case for presenting different contextual content in some parts of the homepage, or offering a sub-page hub for the specific requirements… But destroying the ubiquitous notion of a unique homepage, especially if most of the site's material doesn't distinguish user types, sounds like it could get problematic both from a maintenance and user perspective…?

Sent from my iPod

On 5 Nov 2010, at 17:51, Bill Moseley <moseley at hank.org> wrote:

> Say I have a site targeted at different types of users -- perhaps a school
> site for students, teachers, and administrators.
> There's a generic index.html home page.  Now, we want to send out email to
> the three types of users, linking them to a targeted home page:
> student.html, teacher.html, and admin.html.  Those pages will act as the
> site's home page for each type of user.
> All the other pages are the same -- all three user types will see the same
> /about.html, for example.
> All the pages on the site have a "home" link.  What we want is if someones
> starts on student.html then the "home" link will take them to back to
> student.html, not the generic index.html page.
> A few options I can think of:
> 1) set a cookie to remember the user type (set when visiting student.html,
> admin.html, teacher.html) and then:
>   a) rewrite every "home" link when rendering the page to point to their
> custom home page, or
>   b) do a redirect to their custom home page if /home.html is requested and
> a cookie is set.
> 2) Use a URL prefix like /student/index.hml and a rewrite rule so that
> /student/about.html, /teacher/about.html, and just /about.html all point to
> the same page.
> 3) Use a query parameter, but would have to make sure all links on every
> page included the query parameter.
> -- 
> Bill Moseley
> moseley at hank.org
> -- 
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