At my workplace, an academic library, we often have extended conflicts over exactly how to phrase labels, links, and descriptive text.
For example, one link on our home page goes to a list of topics, mostly corresponding to academic departments (Anthropology, Business, Criminal Justice). Clicking one of those links takes you to a guide to available library resources on that topic. For many years, the link has been labelled "Resources by Subject".
Lately we've been using a product called LibGuides to produce and maintain these things, and there's an initiative afoot to rename the link to get the word "guides" in there somehow, on the grounds that we need to better promote them. But there is disagreement on how to phrase it. Suggestions have included:
- How To Guides
- Research Guides
- Guides by Subject
- Research Guides by Subject
This particular phrasing problem isn't what I'm interested in; it's illustrative. It's just that I've noticed that this type of conflict recurs with dreary regularity. We get multiple competing suggestions for very small phrases on the web site (typically no more than one sentence), and then spend days or weeks engaged in passionate debate as to which phrase is best for our users.
So the question is, how do we test something like that? If I had some way of gathering solid data demonstrating how the assorted options perform with honest-to-goodness users, perhaps I could lay some of this internecine conflict to rest. But I'm having a hard time figuring out how you design a test that zeros in on just one very specific factor like this.