I’ve noticed a paradigm shift recently in my trollings of ye olde interweb. More and more sites are reversing their titles! Thus far in my experience, it’s been mostly personal sites, blogs and agency shops that are doing it, but these are the sites run by the people making the larger sites. What do I mean by reversing titles? I mean putting the name of the CONTENT before the name of the site instead of the other way around.
For eons (years), sites had always put something like “Site Name : Page Name” in the title. Well, that’s all fine and good for a title, as it indicates some sort of hierarchy about the content within the site. But once that window gets minimized into the taskbar (or into tabs), all we can really see is something along the lines of “Site Nam”.
I think the recent surge in tabbed-browser usage and an increased awareness of usability has helped to foster this change. Unfortunately, many huge websites aren’t thinking in these terms yet. For instance (and I hate to do it), apple.com places “Apple – ” before every page name in the title. But when I’ve got a bunch of tabs open in Firefox, all I see is “Apple…”. If I’m comparing several different products on one site using tabs, this can rapidly become a usability issue. The same goes for Amazon.
The trouble here, is getting it through Marketing’s thick head (perhaps not so much in Apple’s case) that the content is more important than the company. In the world of retail, it’s very difficult to do such a thing. We all know we can get XYZ at numerous stores, so instead of focusing on XYZ, the focus is placed on the store. Retailers don’t care what you buy, so long as you buy it from them. Therefore, the store name is placed ahead of everything else as merely another form of advertising.
If a company says they want to “think outside the box” and deliver the “latest and greatest” with their website, this should be one of those little detail areas that lend to an overall feeling of “usefulness” and “nice”. I think of it in terms of walking into a store where the salesperson offers me a cup of coffee and then lets me browse if that’s my desire, while never flatly disappearing in the event I have a question (which I invariably do).
Examples of sites that do it the other way (IMO, the right way) are: