Stop using www

A work related rant/editorial đŸ˜‡

I’ve spoken about this at Communicators’ Forum, and nearly every talk I give on campus.

Please. Stop using www.

Using, or worse yet requiring www (as some University sites still do) is a holdover from an earlier age. It’s an anachronism, like saying aitch tea tea pea colon slash slash when verbalizing a web address. It makes the University look less modern. Using www before a subdomain (like www.thing.umich.edu) is an even larger faux pas.

You can certainly configure your webserver to accept the vestigial www, but then redirect to a cleaner URL without it. For example:
www.twitter.com, www.duo.com, www.umich.edu, and www.wordpress.com all accept and redirect to clean URLs.

It might seem like a small thing, but it’s a detail that contributes to (or with the use of www, takes away) the impression of modernity. We need to stop punishing our audience visually with the cruft of tech minutia. We try to lead in so many areas, let’s be sure that our digital communications practices lead too.

Thanks in advance for doing your part to set the example for the rest of the University! If you have trouble configuring a site please feel free to reach out to me and someone on my team will help.

The use of www has never been required by any global technical policy or standard. There is absolutely no reason to use it.

Fun fact: The first use of www (and its resulting popularity) was actually a mistake according to Paolo Palazzi and Tim Berners-Lee. They configured the DNS records for the CERN laboratory incorrectly, and never bothered to fix it.

TL;DR
The use of www is completely unnecessary, and is an old tradition based on a mistake. We need to stop using it.