RE: soft keys vs. hard keys vs. programmable - clarification

Subject: RE: soft keys vs. hard keys vs. programmable - clarification
From: Melanie Shook <mshook -at- com2001 -dot- com>
To: "'Marilynne Smith'" <marilyns -at- qualcomm -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 14:42:51 -0600

I think my previous post wasn't clear enough, so for clarification:

My real question: Would you provide technically incorrect information if it
seems to benefit the users more than being strictly correct?

Long explanation:

<snip> from Marilynne Smith [mailto:marilyns -at- qualcomm -dot- com]
How about discussing it in terms of function: To add a number to your
book, hold down xx key and press #3. I suspect your users aren't interested
knowing what you call the keys. They just want to know how to do the

Actually, the users don't have to program anything - but they have to press
the correct button. They can use any phone, so we don't know what the
buttons will look like, just that they may have two buttons labeled "Hold"
or "Conference" etc. The hard key, that came with the phone, performs a
different function than the "programmable" key (not meant to be programmed
by the user, but prior to them receiving the phone) - this is why I don't
want to call it a "programmable" key, even though that is the technically
correct term. I would call it "pre-programmed."

To give an example: If they press the hard hold key, the call is placed on
local hold - no music, stays on hold indefinitely; if they press the
pre-programmed/programmable hold key, the caller hears hold music and rings
back to the extension after 2 minutes.

Having two buttons is the result of designing the product to work for any
and all phones with no additional programming necessary. Most companies
just happen to choose pre-programming the call control functions on their
phones, resulting in the need to explain the difference between the two
"hold" buttons to the user.

So my dilemma is: If I call it "programmable" which is the technically
correct term, it may cause some confusion in the user, thinking they have to
program the key. Trainers call it "soft" so the documentation wouldn't
match what the trainers tell the users. If I call it "soft" it is
technically incorrect, although most users won't know the difference or
care. So I am leaning toward using "soft," but it bothers me to provide an
incorrect definition of the term.

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