Fine-Tuning the Labeling System

The list of terms you are working with might be raw, coming straight from the content in your site, your site’s users, or your own ideas of what should work best. Or, it may come straight from a polished controlled vocabulary. In either case, it’ll need some work to become an effective labeling system.

The Basics

First, sort the list of terms alphabetically. If it’s a long list (e.g., indexing labels), you might see some duplicates; remove these.

Then review the list for consistency of usage, punctuation, letter case, and so forth. For example, you’ll remember that the label table drawn from the Argus web site had inconsistencies that became obvious right away. Sometimes we used periods after labels, sometimes we didn’t. We also weren’t consistent in our usage of link labels vs. the heading labels on the pages they referred to.

You might also find that the writing style varies too much from label to label. For example, one label might use an active verb (e.g., Order a Free Sample from Larry’s Reptile Hut) while another may use more passive language (e.g., Larry’s Reptile Hut Customer Service). This is a good time to resolve these inconsistencies and perhaps to establish conventions for usage in terms of punctuation, language, and so on.

Some terms will undoubtedly be synonyms (e.g., cancer and oncology), others will be variants on the same term (e.g., microfiltration systems and microfiltration services), and some will be related but not quite the ...

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