I've had a request to change the menu navigation of a not yet launched website, and naturally I'm hugely concerned that this is coming from stakeholders rather than IA and content specialists.

Can you please share your thoughts on the following:

  • Share your data & Use our data
  • Provide your data & Share your data

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Trying to make it less vague – I am only interested in the two variations.

We have galleries, libraries, archives and museums who can share their metadata with us. The first section is explaining the benefits, has a form to sign up, and discussed the technical and legal requirements when giving your data. The second section is a bridge towards our developer labs site, it is for project coordinators who are interested in using data but may not know how to do so - it has examples, best practices, and simple API information.


This seems like the kind of thing you should test with a card sort. Get as many potential users, company employees, stakeholders of the site as you can to provide input on the titles of these menu items. (This lets the stakeholders get their say in, but also gives you some research to point to if it becomes necessary to contradict them)

Alternatively you could just appease the stakeholders in the short term, and carry out some tests once the site is live.

The free account at Optimal Workshop's OptimalSort gives you enough responses to solve a problem like this.



Get involved    |    Provide your data   |    For developers/API

  • The first option is pretty straight forward, its like a call to action title inviting the user to actually get involved.

  • The second option is more about asking for data politely rather than sounding rude. As far as I can see, you are asking for the data from other providers. This depends largely on how data is actually obtained but when using the word 'provide', it means you are asking to use their data in the way you want whereas 'share' means sharing their public API or even just publicly display their data/API.

  • Lastly, 'use/share our/your data' is a bit vague as in how you intend to share the data. If you mean releasing public APIs then I recommend using the word 'API' or even 'for developers' because as a developer, I am immediately attracted to such words and I know exactly what that means.

    It may not mean much to laymen in which case you can use 'for developers'


There are a few ways to solve this. As Dennis mentioned above, one is a card sort, especially if you can get some actual users.

Another way is to do a basic usability test, again with actual users (you only need 3-5 of them to get a good sense of what's going on). Here's one way you might do this:

  1. Make some prototypes of the pages. They don't have to be super detailed; you could do anything from paper sketches to HTML. Whatever you have time to generate.
  2. Get one user at a time to talk to you (for less than an hour).
  3. First, ask each user to give you some basic expectations for the menu items (maybe pick one of the menu options, but be open to the idea that neither may be correct). By expectations: "what do you expect will happen if you click on this?"
  4. Ask the user to click the items. Ideally, make some specific tasks that you expect users to do. i.e. sign up. Don't make more than ~10 tasks.
  5. After the tasks, ask the user what was surprising, what conflicted with his/her expectations, etc.

Ideally, record this with screen record software and/or audio record, if the user will give you permission to do so.

This will give you significant data on whether the menu items let users do what they need to do, and where they conflict with how users think.


If you have to chose between the two options, do A/B testing for a while and pick the one that works better (try not to track only the clicks but the completed funnels, because counting the clicks can wrongly give more weight to the most confusing option, that can get more clicks because it get clicks from misleaded users!)

If we can review the labels, I think that you should try to put a benefit in the label itself, i.e. what is the benefit of "Share your data" for galleries, libraries, archives and museums? If the idea is that they share their data to promote their service, I would use "Promote yourself" if is it about sharing the projects they're working on, use something like "Empower your project" etc.

This should help them know what is the reward for completing a boring and somehow "risky" task (filling form is boring, giving information to someone else is risky)

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