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13:3 Label Data Entry Fields Consistently

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 4 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 3 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline


Topic:

Controls and Widgets


Guideline:

Ensure that data entry labels are worded consistently, so that the same data item is given the same label if it appears on different pages.


Comments:

If possible, employ consistent labeling conventions. For example, do not use single words or phrases for some labels and short sentences for others, or use verbs for some and nouns for others.


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 Unpublished master’s thesis.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.
  • Mahajan, R. & Shneiderman, B. (1997). Visual and textual consistency checking tools for graphical user interfaces. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 23, 722-735.
  • Smith, S.L. & Mosier, J.N. (1986, August). Guidelines for designing user interface software. The MITRE Corporation Technical Report (ESD-TR-86-278).

Poor Example:

This form uses confusing wording, a variety of lengths of labels and there is no suggested formatting for the types of data entered.

13_03_bad_example

Good Example:

This form has a reasonably consistent length of labels and they are easy to read.

13_03_good_example

Related Resources: