3 – Don’t Try to Reinvent the Wheel
There’s a lot of excitement that comes with developing a new or rebranded site. It is a great opportunity to get creative and bring new life to your business or organization. That being said, too much creativity can hinder user experience. Users depend on a series of assumptions based on prior interactions, known as mental models, to make navigation decisions. Breaking from commonly understood or expected navigation or labeling techniques for untested or unfamiliar formats is more likely to confuse and annoy users, rather than delight and amuse them.
People know what they know and have preset expectations and typically limited time when they visit your website. Having a main menu with core elements like an “About” section and a “Contact Us” page, a shopping cart icon for eCommerce sites, a header, and a footer are common examples. This is true for labeling content as well has titling pages. While you may be drawn to using unique titles for your pages or categories, it is best to stick with the nomenclature people are used to. As the Nielson Norman Group, a foremost leader in usability, points out, it’s crucial to use understandable link labels. Figure out what users are looking for and use category labels that are familiar and relevant. Menus are not the place to get cute with made-up words and internal jargon. Stick to terminology that clearly describes your content and features. (Nielson Norman Group)