Naming

Written by MSKTC Experts

What should I do?

  • Name all elements (headings, navigation, links, menu commands, page titles) in the users’ language, which may differ from what you use internally in your organization.
  • Use specific, descriptive names, and make sure that all names are clearly differentiated from each other. Users should be able to predict what they will see after clicking a link or button.
  • Keep names concise and avoid line wrapping.
  • Conduct usability tests to ensure that the site's naming conventions are working.

Why should I do it?

Users rely on labels, headings, and titles to help them find information. If users can't tell the difference between options because the names are too similar, or if users don't understand what the names mean, they may become confused and disoriented. If they click too many times without finding what they need, they may leave the site.

Example

On the Health Topics page for Medline Plus, which is targeted to the general public, both categories and links are easy to understand. The images for the Body Location/Systems links help clarify potentially confusing terms, such as Endocrine System. Also notice how in Disorders and Conditions, Poisoning precedes Toxicology in the link name, making the subject clearer. Still, there are some links that could be more specific; what's a metabolic problem, for example?