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<<Above the tabs is a list of totals - total documents in the system, and a
breakdown by tab. It is this list that I want to name (as in "the total
number of documents in each tab is indicated on the XXX").
It's a horizontal section, separated from the tabs by a different
background colour, but less distinct from the screen title and login
details (which appear above it).>>
This sounds to me like a classic case where the documentation is supposed to make up for poor interface design. No matter what you call it, that name does not appear on the screen. That means you not only have to describe what the numbers mean, you also have to describe where they are. The question I would ask at this point is "Will the user know what those numbers mean just by looking at the screen?" If the answer is 'No' then I would tactfully suggest to the screen designer that there needs to be a label on that horizontal section that gives the user an idea of the meaning of the numbers. In my opinion, tech writers have to be user advocates. The addition of a descriptive label is not a big interface change, but it can save the user the time and frustration of having to search the documentation to find out what the numbers mean.