in Web Navigation

Litmus test for scent/meaning

I’ve plowed through the research on information scent, and while they seem to be learning something about how people think about links and navigation, it’s not clear if there’s anything actionable for designers to take away from it. So I continue to think about how to create scent, or really, how to make links meaningful to people. I think some of Spool’s research on link length is helpful.

Recently I’ve been playing with what I call the Litmus Test for Scent. It helps to quickly judge whether link text is effective in an appeal-to-common-sense way. Here’s the format:

OH! I really want to see what’s in [link name]!

So, for example, when I go to Amazon and see that little tab with my name on it, I say, “OH! I really want to see what’s on Victor’s page!

but not

OH! I really want to see what’s in Click here” or “OH! I really want to see what’s in [insider lingo]” etc.