On some universities’ web pages, like Oxford university, they write:

Computer Science, Department of

For me it is more intuitive to say:

Department of Computer Science

Can somebody explain why a preference is given?

  • 10
    It could be for indexing purposes. You'll see this often when, for instance, a list of bands is sorted alphabetically (e.g. Beatles, The). Since all the departments start with "Department of", it draws the focus to the department name itself. – Zairja Oct 10 '12 at 23:40

This is most likely for the benefit of visually impaired users who use screen reading software.

Users of screen readers, like all users, like to scan through a list of links quickly. They find it enormously frustrating when they have to listen to redundant words like "Department of ..." "Department of ..." over and over again. If we put the important information first ("Architecture ... " "Computer Science ..." "Engineering ..."), the user can quickly decide whether to follow the link or jump to the next one.

Usability studies show that this form of wording also helps sighted users. Most people, when they are scanning through a list of links, prefer to read just the first few words on each link.

| improve this answer | |
  • +1 Though not quite the expected (indexing), a very, very thoughtful and purposeful answer. – Kris Oct 11 '12 at 3:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.