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August 19, 2006

When "Clever" Labels Attack!

One thing I teach in our information architecture workshops is the importance of clear, understandable labels. I even went so far as to write a report about it.

At UX Week, our conference hotel demonstrated the need for such a mindset in environmental graphics and wayfinding. Our elevator pointed out that the "POOL/HEALTH CLUB" was on the 2nd Floor.

But when you arrived on the floor, looking for the "HEALTH CLUB", the only pointer I could find was:

I don't think I'm that stupid, and it took me a long time to figure out this sign. Sculpting Room? Is that *really* what they would call the health club? Because I'm "sculpting" my body? Really? I honestly suspected it might mean something else (pottery? art?) for a bit, because that label made me so uncertain.

It also broke a cardinal information architecture rule. Since the elevator said "Health Club," I was looking for the phrase "Health Club." But nowhere on that floor is the phrase "Health Club" used.

(And, I mean, come on... "Sculpting"? Even once I got it, I found it so off-putting.)

Posted by peterme at August 19, 2006 09:07 AM

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