Should : or ? be used for Edit/ShowRecord caption text?

Should : or ? be used for Edit/ShowRecord caption text?

One of the general rules to be applied when building web pages is to reduce noise. By noise, as it is generally meant in the Web, is any element in the page which does not serve a purpose, for content, clarity or struture.

Let us examine the following scenarios:

Employee Name John Doe
Employee Name: John Doe

Is Active Yes
Is Active? Yes

Do these punctuation marks serve any purpose on the page?

My belief is that these do not serve a purpose and thus, by removing them, we're not loosing anything in terms of content or clarity. Instead, I believe we're gaining in user focus, by reducing noise. Less information, easier to browse (less brain processing).

Do you agree?

If not, just be sure to be consistent throughout your web application. One of the rules of CRAP.

Credits to Olivier, for bringing this up.

I don't agree. Although noise that distracts the user should always be removed, there is some noise that is useful and punctuation marks are one example, since they aid the reader allowing him/her to comprehend faster what he's reading. The thing is that extra "noise to process" doesn't necessarily increase the required brain processing. On the other hand, data that doesn't follow patterns which are familiar to the brain does increase brain processing.

In the particular case of the Show Record and Edit Record widgets, in most cases, this isn't relevant because they're displayed on a table where there's a clear distinction between the attribute name (eg: Employee Name) and the attribute value (eg: John Doe). In some cases, however, depending on the stylesheet used and the column and text size, it is possible for such a distinction to become unclear requiring actually additional brain processing to understand which part of the line is the attribute name and which part is the attribute value.

Most big companies seem to agree, as they use : and ? on their sign-up (and other) forms. Some examples are:
Hi, Miguel. Thanks for your input!

I was referring to our Edit/ShowRecord widgets, where there is usual a clear separation of the columns, along with our very own styleguide border-bottom in the table data-cells joining caption to value.

Although I have to say I was quite amazed by the examples given, which are some of the biggest players on the Web, my belief continues to be that there is no value added, nonetheless. If you remove the punctuation marks in discussion from the referred forms, there is nothing lost.

There are also some examples where the punctuation marks are not used: (from 37signals - which run a usability forum, among other things) [Join] (collection of web forms)

Bottom-line, having Miguel's remarks on mind: mainly, be coherent throught your application ...