I'm in the process of doing a Heuristic Usability Evaluation of a software product for a potential client. The software product is a tool that enables non-programmers to build web applications... pretty cool stuff.
As part of the review, I'm doing a comparative study of some other sites. As I was capturing some screen shots, I realized that in addition to attractive design improving usability, so can language.
I know, obvious, right?
With the web today, it's best to make a site task-based. Navigation for a task-based system should follow the Verb-Article-Noun naming convention: e.g. Add to Cart, Proceed to Checkout, etc.
As I was capturing some of these screen shots, I noticed some good examples of that naming convention and some that were outstanding.
In the user interface of Coghead, for example, the main action is "Build an Application".
In the user interface of Typepad, one of the main actions is "Create a Post". They could have named it "Write a Post", but "Create" is better, isn't it? Writing is work. Creating is expressing. It's a subtle (semantic) difference that I think makes all the difference in the world.
I'm not picking on Coghead here, please don't think that or flame me... but they should rename "Build..." to "Create...". Building is hard work, what frame of mind am I going to be in when I know I've got to Build something vs. Create something?
Another example I like is "Discover" instead of "Learn". Discover implies being first to find something, learning requires effort.
What do you think? Do you think that language improves the usability of things? What are some examples you can think of?