Gawker sites breaking the web

Another baffling feature of the new Gawker sites re-design is that it appears that they’ve broken the browser’s Back button. Starting at, I’ll click a link for an article:


That brings up the Web 3.0 Frames magic and replaces the left frame of the screen:


Note the fun “hash-bang” URLs in the address bar. When I click the “Back” button or navigate using the browser’s Back command, the address bar changes but nothing else does:


The title bar and main content stays the same, but the address bar goes back to the home page. Nothing else happens, I don’t get back to the original screen I was on. I suppose I’m intended to use only the in-document navigation?

When I first started doing AJAX applications back in 2004-5 or so, one of the cardinal rules we adhered to was “Don’t break the Back button”. Has this rule changed, or is the Gawker site design really that bad?

About Jimmy Bogard

I'm a technical architect with Headspring in Austin, TX. I focus on DDD, distributed systems, and any other acronym-centric design/architecture/methodology. I created AutoMapper and am a co-author of the ASP.NET MVC in Action books.
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  • Dmiser

    It’s really that bad.

    • Yeah, it is really bad. I tried the back button in Chrome today and it does not work.

  • It’s that bad, and Google shares the blame since they updated their spider to handle “#!” urls, letting the site get indexed (google converts “#!” to “?_escaped_fragment=” and requests the link again to get the content). Doing something this dumb, Gawker should have fallen out of the search engines, but since they will remain in Google it’s less likely they will do anything to fix it and others will follow.

  • Abid

    Works for me on IE9. haven’t checked in others.

    • You know, I tried it on IE8-9 and I saw this behavior. I wonder what’s different…

    • Arnis Lapsa

      Works on chromium 12 too

  • Actually no… it’s really that bad. The rule about the Back button still stands. They just don’t give a **** anymore. Add that to the obscene amount of advertisement and it makes you want to change site.

  • Since their redesign I’ve stopped using the website, it’s terrible now. Usability is terrible on the site now. (in my opinion)

  • And it seems like you have severely broken the RSS channel – this is the fifth time that this has been marked unread by Google Reader.

  • lifehacker also does the same

  • Apparently they fixed the Back button issue. But the site is definitely not keyboard friendly. All I have to say is don’t accidentally hit a horizontal arrow key.

    Unfortunately Gawker wasn’t the only site to change to a design I’m not to fund of. *looks around at the new Los Techies/Codebetter/*

  • It has changed. Back buttons suck.

  • I think that new redesign gawker sites are working well.. After change this button.. Is it correct..