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9:2 Provide Descriptive Page Titles

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 4 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 2 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline


Topic:

Headings, Titles, and Labels


Guideline:

Create a descriptive, unique, and concise title for each webpage.


Comments:

Title refers to the text that is in the browser title bar (this is the bar found at the very top of the browser screen). Titles are used by search engines to identify pages. If two or more pages have the same title, they cannot be differentiated by users or the 'Favorites' feature of the browser. If users bookmark a page, they should not have to edit the title to meet the characteristics mentioned above.

Remember that some search engines only list the titles in their search results page. Use concise and meaningful titles on all pages to help orient users as they browse a page, or scan for specific URLs.

To avoid confusing users, make the title that appears in the heading of the browser consistent with the title in the content area of the pages.


Sources:

  • Evans, M. (1998). Web Design: An Empiricist’s Guide. Unpublished master’s thesis. Seattle: University of Washington. Retrieved May 2003, from http://response.restoration.noaa.gov/webmastr/webdesgn.pdf.
  • Levine, R. (1996). Guide to Web Style. Sun Microsystems.
  • Nielsen, J. & Tahir, M. (2002). Homepage Usability: 50 Sites Deconstructed. Indianapolis, IN: New Riders Publishing.
  • Spyridakis, J.H. (2000). Guidelines for authoring comprehensible web pages and evaluating their success. Technical Communication, 47(3), 359-382.
  • Williams, T.R. (2000). Guidelines for designing and evaluating the display of information on the Web. Technical Communication, 47(3), 383-396.

Good Example:

These titles are unique, concise, and consistent with the titles in the content area.

09_02_good_example