To Label or To Not To Label

May 23, 2022

Recently at Zorp, a discussion came up on the topic of whether we should label the sidebar icons. TLDR There is no right or wrong answer to this. There are some who vouch that labels are alway a must; but then there are some who claim that after a brief learning curve, the icons become second nature. Both are technically right and the decision has to be more with what your platform deals with and what your needs are.

In any software application, it is important to have a well-designed navigation system. This is especially true for saas applications, which can be complex and have many features. A well-designed navigation system will help users find what they are looking for quickly and easily. One important aspect of navigation design is labeling the navigation sidebar. Let's discuss why this is important.

The first reason why labeling the navigation sidebar is important is because it helps users understand the structure of the application. When users can see the labels for each section, they can quickly get a sense of where everything is and how the different sections are organized. This makes it easier for them to find what they are looking for.

The second reason why labeling the navigation sidebar is important is because it makes the application more user-friendly. If users can't figure out where they need to go, they will become frustrated and may even give up on using the application altogether. By labeling the navigation sidebar, you make it clear to users where they need to go to find what they're looking for. This increases the chances that they will stick with using the application.

The third reason why labeling the navigation sidebar is important is because it can help with search engine optimization (SEO). If your application is well-labeled, it will be easier for search engines to index it and rank it higher in search results. This will lead to more people finding your application when they search for keywords related to what it does.

The Cons of Labeling the Navigation Sidebar

  1. It takes up valuable space on the screen. Every pixel counts when it comes to designing a user interface, so labeling the sidebar may not be worth it if it means sacrificing valuable screen real estate.

  2. It can make your application look cluttered. Too many labels on the sidebar can make your application look busy and overwhelming for users. This can lead to user frustration and ultimately cause them to abandon your application altogether.

  3. It can be unnecessary if your application is self-explanatory. If your application is designed in such a way that users will be able to figure out how to navigate it without labels, then labels may just be adding clutter without providing any real value.

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding whether or not to label the navigation sidebar in your saas application; it all depends on your specific circumstances and what you think will work best for your users. However, we hope that this blog post has given you something to think about and has helped you weigh the pros and cons of both options so that you can make an informed decision for your own saas application. Thanks for reading!