Picking the Right Text for Navigation (and Other) Labels

writingpencilI knew when I saw research from Nielsen Norman Group titled “Avoid Category Names That Suck,” the content was going to confirm my advice for website navigation. Always, always use plain language to maximize access to your content and avoid user confusion.

You will want to read the full results of the research, but here are some key takeaways:

  • Use don’t click labels they don’t understand or aren’t clear on where it will take them.
  • Descriptive words and phrases that your users understand, even if they sound boring, are best.
  • Don’t make up words or terms. Worked for Google, but changes aren’t so good for the rest of us.
  • Test labels. It’s very easy – just show someone who fits into your desired audience demographics a list of potential navigation labels and ask what they think they will find. Best matches to what you actually plan to offer win.