I look for guidelines for naming menu or button commands, should they convey the command operation or could be more conceptual and idiomatic (in the context and direction of the software usage)

For example "Extract elements" or "Scan"?

"Change the element to image" or "Take a snapshot" or just "snapshot"?

  • What do you see on this site? What do you see in Microsoft Office?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 19:17

2 Answers 2


Jakobs Law

Users spend most of their time on other sites.

This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know. as explained here http://www.nngroup.com/articles/end-of-web-design/

Furthermore, try to stick as close as possible to the users mental model.

Users don't just confuse search fields; many less-techy users don't understand the differences between many other common features: Operating-system windows vs. browser windows
- A window vs. an application,
- Icons vs. applications,
- Browser commands vs. native commands in a Web-based app
- Local vs. remote info
- Different passwords and log-in options (users often log in to other websites as if they were logging in to their email)


So just ask someone who doesn't know your project yet, how they would call the feature you describe to him/her. (Works perfectly with my mother every time ;) )

Hope it helps.


I have always found that conceptual never works without ample on-boarding or education. This is a case where Jakobs Law comes in to play more than ever. Personally I'm not entirely sure what any of the example buttons would do but that could be the result of no context.

  • It would be helpful to expand upon your answer. What is Jakob's Law? Do you have any documented support for your claim, or what about it makes conceptual work not helpful? Might be good just to have a more informed answer :)
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 19:59

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