[Home]Naming titles

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What are good practices for naming titles of web pages?

Have you ever visited a web site that had a title such as Blahblah blah: Your resource for javascript, html, mathml, xhtml, xml, emcascript, jscript, and anything else? Isn't it annoying when you try to bookmark the site? Usually, you'll try to give the page a title that you like, that helps you out when you look at the bookmark menu. This same practice should be used for the titling of your pages.

When choosing a title for your web page, imagine yourself bookmarking that page. Then give that page the title you'd give it if you were bookmarking it.

It's that simple; with this easy routine, your sites will be easier to use in no time.

Putting your site's name in the title

Another, contrasting theory of mine is that users will get confused because they do not know what site the bookmark is pointing to. Thus, you might want to include your site's name in the title. For example, I might want to do Shobadobs: My crappy text editor instead of A crappy text editor. However, I prefer the lack of branding in the title; the browser does enough of that already. I would actually name the page The Shobadobs Text Editor, because it is the most fluent, readable, informative, and concise.

Here's another theory. When I'm browsing all over a site in multiple windows, the least helpful thing that I can imagine is a bunch of taskbar buttons/tabs with "Foobar.co..." in them because they're too squished to fit anything more meaningful. That's why I use titles like Downloads: foo.org.

What the W3C Says

http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/global.html#h-7.4.2

"Authors should use the TITLE element to identify the contents of a document. Since users often consult documents out of context, authors should provide context-rich titles. Thus, instead of a title such as "Introduction", which doesn't provide much contextual background, authors should supply a title such as "Introduction to Medieval Bee-Keeping" instead."

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Last edited January 8, 2003 8:40 pm (diff)
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