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Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, Second Edition by Peter Morville, Louis Rosenfeld

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Varieties of Labels

On the Web, we regularly encounter labels in two formats: textual and iconic. In this chapter, we’ll spend most of our time addressing textual labels, as they remain the most common despite the Web’s highly visual nature, including:

Contextual Links

Hyperlinks to chunks of information on other pages or to another location on the same page.

Headings

Labels that simply describe the content that follows them, just as print headings do.

Navigation System Choices

Labels representing the options in navigation systems.

Index Terms

Keywords and subject headings that represent content for searching or browsing.

These categories are by no means perfect or mutually exclusive. A single label can do double duty; for example, the contextual link “Naked Bungee Jumping” could lead to a page that uses the heading label “Naked Bungee Jumping” and has been indexed as being about (you guessed it) “Naked Bungee Jumping.” And some of these labels could be iconic rather than textual, although we’d rather not imagine a visual representation of naked bungee jumping.

In the following section, we’ll explore the varieties of labeling in greater detail and provide you with some examples.

Labels as Contextual Links

Labels describe the hypertext links within the body of a document or chunk of information, and naturally occur within the descriptive context of their surrounding text. Contextual links are easy to create and are the basis for the exciting interconnectedness that drives much of the Web’s ...

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