Information Architecture - Part 3


Labels represent bigger chunks of information. You can say it gives a visual representation of the structure of the information. Labels can be textual or iconographic. 

Types of labels

Textual labels: These are texts which are hyperlinked to another page of information. It ideally tells in a word, what the user can expect if he clicks on it. 

The different kinds of textual labels are:

1. Contextual links: These are texts within a content which is hyperlinked to further information or to another page. 

2. Headings: These are used to describe chunks of information. It has to be obvious and inform the sequence of the hierarchy.

3. Navigation systems: These are the labels used for navigation system. 

For instance, Main page, home page, search, FAQ, Contact us, About us etc. These labels should be consistent.

4. Index terms

Iconic labels: These are labels that are pictorial and represent the information it can lead to or contain. Though iconic labels can help in making the design more attractive, there is always a fear if the icons represent the message appropriately or even correctly. In other words, it can always be misunderstood. 

Guidelines for creating labels

1. Call them by their right names

2. Use words that the users understand

3. Use a consistent labeling system

In a grocery online store, calling pulses as “grains” might not help the customers to identify what is represents. Calling meat and fish as “for non-vegetarians” might not be appropriate either. 

On the other hand calling “aravi” as “colocacia” might not sell a single bit of that plant. It is the right English word, but not a commonly used one. How would people understand it? 

How to create labels

Content: Look at the words used in your content and the labels they suggest.

User research: The user research will contain hundreds of words that describe how the users phrase ideas and concepts. Make sure you look at your search logs – you’ll see exactly what people are looking for.

Card sorting: The last step in card sorting is often for people to provide a label describing what the group of cards is about. This can give an idea on how to create the labels.

Look around: The competitors and other sites can give a good idea how the labels are done. Looking at it can help you to follow a similar system that can actually be comfortable for the users.