Experiencing Web Page Titles

This is a personal thing in the UX domain, but I think it applies to more than just me. I see too many sites where the first set of words in the title of each web page on the site is the name of the site itself followed by the actual page title. For me this doesn’t make sense, for two reasons.

First, I use Google Chrome. As the number of open tabs grows (it happens fast), the size of each tab gets smaller. That means that I end up seeing half of the website name and don’t have a clue about the content. Instead of having a contextual clue in the title regarding the the actual content of the page, instead I just have a clue about the name of the site (which is often very unhelpful).

Secondly, I have to search for what I’m looking at after I’ve already searched my bookmarks for something. Like most people that use a left-to-right language, most text is left-justified and I read from the beginning at the left to the end at the right. I use Pinboard for my bookmarking service, and when I search for data in my bookmarks, I scan the left-hand side of my column for contextual clues about the most relevant bookmarks. When sites organize titles such as “Site Name: Page Title”, what I see is the “Site” part in the results column, which sometimes just confuses me more. For example, one of the most popular post on this blog at the time of writing is “GTD = OmniFocus + OmniOutliner + DEVONThink…”. If I was to bookmark that and then search for something related to GTD in my bookmarks later, I would see the following:

GTD = OmniFocus + OmniOutliner + DEVONThink…  « David’s Blog

If my blog was arranged in the “Site Name: Page Title” format, I would see:

David’s Blog » GTD = OmniFocus + OmniOutliner + DEVONThink…

Respectively, I would see the following scanning down a list of search results:

GTD = OmniFocus…
David’s Blog…

And in my personal experience, the first one gives me better contextual clues as to what I’m looking for and what I’m getting when I click the link.