Glossary » baseline
baseline is basically where things “are” in the sense that what we see is what is being done by a “majority” within a competitive space. Now you could argue that, because most are doing something, more audiences experience the same thing. But that depends on the weight of what we find in the analysis. If we discover that most content is found under similar/the same labels, then user expectations are best served by doing the same — but this is NOT best practice. This is simply using convention to reduce guesswork.
For example, on one project we had used ‘Feedback’ to label where visitors should contact the client in a number of ways. When given the scenario, “You would like to complain to that their navigation sucks,” every single user looked for “Contact Us.” The argument went, “doesn’t that stifle creativity?” Yes and no. But that convention can change quickly. Basing designs on baseline is, in my opinion, a short-term measure for meeting an immediate need.
– Ron Biggs