I’ve been pondering website labels lately… (boy, that David – he’s truly a geek!). No really – we’re going through a major website overhaul right now, and we’re to the point where we’re looking at labels (ie., does “Databases” really mean anything to our visitors?).
And so here are a few real-world examples of labels – or more appropriately, mis-labels.
The first one deals with consistency. I recently stayed at this hotel in New York City. It was a fine hotel, but I haven’t any idea what the name of the hotel actually is. Why? Take a look at all the names of this hotel:
- Jolly Hotel Madison Towers
- Madison Towers Hotel
- Jolly Hotels
- Jolly Madison Towers Hotel
- Jolly Master Hotel
- and … jollymadison.com !
The hotel has at least six different names! They need a little consistency, don’t you think? And, web people, we can use this lesson to make sure we are consistent in our naming and labeling schemes, too. Make sure you keep html titles, link labels, headings, etc. consistent across your website, on printed things, in articles and even in press releases. The goal is to have all labels match so there’s no confusion.
And now for context. OK – I bought this way cool t-shirt recently, at vinniecolaiuta.com (he’s an amazing drummer – think Sting, Frank Zappa, etc). So I’m at this drummer’s site, I see this shirt that reads “I hit things” and immediately think what any other drummer would think – “that’s cool!” and I bought it.
But now, having worn it out a few times … when I walk down the street, people stare at me, and give me a wide birth. When I’m at a store, they either say “don’t hit me” sort of sheepishly, or they ask “what do you hit?”
The problem? I don’t hit things! (well, other than drums). I’m a fairly gentle person when it comes to the propensity to want to hit things – I dont’ go around starting brawls, anyway!
So, I have labeled myself out of context. If I wore this shirt while drumming, it’d make perfect sense. Or maybe if I was a mean lookin’, tattoo-sportin’, hairy guy… But when I wear this at the grocery store, it doesn’t fit my personality very well (well, other than my extremely sarcastic, I think it’s funny ’cause no one else gets it bent).
Lesson #2: On our websites, we need to label things in context. Some of that has to do with jargon. My t-shirt uses drummer jargon that no one else understands … our library websites use jargon, too. Instead of using jargon, make sure to tag your services appropriately for your audience and for the content and purpose surrounding the labels. So if I’m with a bunch of drummers, my “I hit things” makes sense. But out at walmart, my shirt should say “I play drums.”
Just some food for thought…