My Love Hate of Browser Bookmarks

September 1, 2016

Okay, yeah, this feature is a dry, latent feature of every “modern day” internet browser since 1993. Their name has evolved from the original “hotlists” to “bookmarks,” or “favorites” in use by Internet Explorer, ironically no longer the internet user’s favorite browser … at least, in the U.S. Bookmarks aren’t to be confused with your Internet History, but are essentially quick links/icons within a browser (or saved to a desktop or within a folder) to quickly visit a website.

Here’s my struggle, and yes, it’s real … (no, it’s not)

My use comes and goes
I’ve been using the consumer version of the internet for nearly two decades and can honestly say I was using bookmarks to store my favorite websites since my first year. However, my “active” use of them has waxed and waned. I’m not sure why, but I have narrowed down that it’s usage is largely purpose-driven.

Professional use has dominated
I’d say my recent resurgence in use has coincided with the cloud effect of software and services. I found it almost impossible to remember all the login URLs for each web-based software, service, platform or database I access to do my job. Building a browser folder with bookmarks seemed ideal to organizing my work links from other non-work related URLs/shortcuts.

When working toward my Masters in Web Design and Online Communication, my creation of bookmarks went almost into hyper drive as professors and fellow students posted amazing online resources near daily.

However, recently I’ve been planning several trips for fun. Various Google searches throughout the day have led to great online resources. I currently have three active folders of links in my Bookmark Toolbar, and because Chrome syncs across my devices, I can add/access/remove pretty much anywhere I’m connected. Thanks, Google.

Why I don’t like them
Yes, they’re convenient, but for me they have a sense of cheating; like I’m doing something unethical or breaking the rules in clicking the “star” icon in my browser. I have no clue why.

There’s also an annoyance when a bookmarked URL no longer works, usually a realization in the moment you need or want the content. Great! Now I have to stop whatever it is I’m working on to track down an updated link OR heaven forbid, Google Search for a replacement. NOTE: webmasters, this should never happen as you should have some level of removed URL handling, either as a business process or through 301 redirects. Sadly, it persists as a user-experience fail.

Finally, there’s the management of the bookmarks themselves. I will give Google Chrome credit as it’s been the easiest to use from my browser experience. I find it necessary, however to at least once a year go through and reorder my Bookmarks Bar through the Bookmarks Manager to ensure, much like my desktop screen, its clean and efficient.

Where’s the evolution?
I think what probably bugs me the most is that 1) the feature is still latently named after a similarity with printed texts, much like the words, “scroll” and “scroll bar.” Sure, there’s “favorites,” but the current number one browser continues to refer to these pesky shortcuts as a term several hundred years old.

2) where has there been innovation? I will give the browser teams an “A” for adding tiles to the launch screen of the most often used sites, but come on, no real evolution of this feature? Yeah, there are plugins for quickly adding bookmarks, removing, saving, etc. I want more cause these things are almost 25 years old.

Now that my bookmark rant is complete, I hope you’ll see a few new ways to appreciate the age-old bookmark. It’s existence predates the average age of freshmen entering college this fall … by five years. Love it. Hate it. Use it. Let’s hope a brilliant Silicon Valley developer can augment the feature with VR someday … or not.

Post Tags:

301 Redirects, Bookmarks, Google Chrome, Internet Browsers,