Headings, Titles, and Labels

1. Use clear category labels (5:4)

The titles of categories (topics/subtopics) should be indicative of the topic covered in those categories. This apples to page titles, subheads, and links.

2. Use descriptive page titles (4:2)

The page title, which appears in the title bar of the browser window (where it is overlooked by most human users) is often used by search engines when listing the page, as well as bookmarks (when naming the bookmark for the user's later reference).

Also, the title used in the <TITLE> tag and the one that is shown on the Web page should be identical to avoid confusing users.

3. Use descriptive headings liberally (4:5)

Headings within documents help user to scan content of a page quickly. They help users understand the structure of information on a page, and help search engines to determine the range of information the page provides and weight it appropriately.

EN: The use of headings is a content decision rather than a design decision. One should not sprinkle headings about a page randomly in order to visually break up the content.

4. Use unique and descriptive headings (4:3)

Especially since headings are used in a table of contents or index as well as within a page, they should be unique (so the same words don't represent two different topics in two different sections of the site) as well as descriptive (do not sacrifice meaning for brevity).

This applies to category names, subcategory names, and page titles in addition to the headings used within any given page of content.

5. Highlight critical data (4:3)

Visually distinguish important items on a page that require user attention. Highlighting is most effective when it is used sparingly, and the highlight treatment (color, boldness, etc.) is consistent throughout a site.

6. Use descriptive row and column headings (4:3)

When data is presented in a table, use row and column titles the user will understand. The example given shows an instance where abbreviation was used for the sake of space (not stretching width or height), but the result was alphabet soup.

EN: This depends largely upon the situation: if a descriptive heading makes a table too wide, or forces white space into a column that contains short values, it is preferable to shorten or abbreviate it. If abbreviating headings makes them unintelligible, provide a key at the top of the table.

7. Highlight critical data (3:2)

Use headings in proper HTML order (H1, H2, H3, H4, etc.). This is necessary to search engines, information aggregation technology, and assistive technology properly parsing the hierarchy of information in a long page.

8. Enable users to reduce options (2:2)

By using a category-subcategory structure, users can make two decisions among smaller sets rather than a single decision among a large set.