Ensure that user can differentiate between elements of the local navigation and find the page or item they are looking for.
Why this matters
Ambiguous text labels or the same label text on multiple elements of global navigation hurt all of our users. Those problems are magnified significantly when the user has a cognitive or neurological disability or is using assistive technology (AT).
How to implement
- Ensure that text labels are unique for each local navigation element. Don’t name two things “Overview” even if they’re in separate sections of the local navigation. Make them more specific, like “Overview of Trees” vs “Overview of Shrubs”.
- Ensure that text labels are unambiguous. For example, the word “Profile” on Wikipedia leads to a long list of potential Profile meanings, including a monitor’s color profile, a user’s personal profile, and a type of photograph. If you’re building a site for a photography studio, you definitely want to make sure the user understands the difference between “here’s where we keep profile-style photos” and “here is your user profile’.
Note that it’s important to look at the labels and links all over the page, because a user who is scanning the page for information scent won’t be looking at the local navigation alone. For example, we should not have a “Settings” menu in the global navigation and another “Settings” menu in the left navigation, because a user may assume they both serve the same purpose.
Ensure you implement the labels as provided.
How to test
Perform usability testing and accessibility testing as early in the design or implementation phases as possible to ensure that users understand the local navigation terminology.
- Ensure that all elements of the local navigation contain the text specified by the Writer or Designer.
- Ensure that all icons in the local navigation are accompanied by a text description.