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Designing Web Navigation by James Kalbach

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ASPECTS OF GOOD LABELS

Ambiguous labels leave people guessing their intent. If site visitors go down the wrong path because of an unclear label, they may get lost or give up. Good labels instill confidence while navigating and help avoid frustration. The following sections detail some of the most important aspects of labels and predict how successfully they may guide users to the content they seek.

SPEAK THE LANGUAGE OF THE USER

The site should speak in terms visitors can understand naturally. It's easy, however, for site designers to assume that others know the same terms and abbreviations they do. This may not always be the case. There are several aspects of labeling that can potentially cause a mismatch in understanding. You should avoid company lingo, technical terminology, clever labels, and abbreviations, while using the appropriate tone of voice.

AVOID COMPANY LINGO

Company lingo creeps into web sites all too easily and all too often. Such jargon confuses more than it helps. In rare circumstances, in which a brand name has become a household word, for instance, marketing-speak might be acceptable. But if you are inventing new products and words, chances are the "outside world" won't understand them. And people won't click on what they don't understand.

Realistically, however, some products and services have trademarked names. Some business sites may even require that a term appear in its trademarked form. In these cases, qualifying and enhancing a label with explanatory text is ...

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