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A link by any other name would stink

March 1, 2016

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Digital Team

Trash or garbage? Department or office? It may seem like minutiae, but these are the debates the Digital Team is having every day.

Getting Around Boston topic page top

Our new topic on will feature options for getting around Boston without a car. We're just not sure what to name it.

A large part of’s redesign is rewriting everything to be more clear. We usually have a hunch of how to improve, but we also work in our own City Hall bubble. We need the public’s feedback early and often to be sure we’re making choices that work for everyone.

An early example that came out of our user testing sessions was the name of a new navigation item. We were testing out the best name for a link to a page with all of the City’s payments, applications, and permits — any forms residents need to fill out and submit. The link's name was planned to be “Transactions”, but for such an important resource we wanted to be sure.

Users gave it a resounding thumbs-down. Most assumed that to only be for making payments, but not registering or applying for permits. Not only did we avoid a bad name, our testers gave us some great "outside-the-bubble" ideas about what could work better.

So, we're back with a request for some informal user input on a puzzle we're currently working on.

We're struggling with the name of a new Topic about getting around Boston without a car. The page will include information about walking, the MBTA, bike riding, and car sharing. “Not Having a Car in the City” is a mouthful and frames the content in a negative light. “Getting Around Boston” is too vague. We thought the title “No Car, No Problem” was a short and punchy choice, but we’re on the fence.

What do you think? Please email us what name you would give this Topic (five words or fewer) at