RE: window/dialog and web terminology questions

Subject: RE: window/dialog and web terminology questions
From: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: "'Barbara Hubert'" <barbara_hubert -at- epicdata -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 15:18:10 -0500

In my humble experience, you won't find too many end users who complain
about it, unless you're inconsistent. I call the main, resizable area you
manipulate data in a "window" (well, now I call it a "page" since I'm doing
a web apps), non-resizable objects require user input to continue are
"dialogs", and non-resizable boxes indicating an error or a missing
requirement are "message boxes". A window may have more than one panel (we
took to calling it Outlook view in my last company since the style was
based on MS Outlook). I've never had users complain about the terms window
and dialog being used, but I didn't define them in detail, I just used them,
and they seemed to understand without needing a reference. I never use
"containers" for end user doc, although the developers do, particularly with
RDBMS or scheduled routines.

My stuff may or may not be compliant with MS Manual of style, but at least I
try for consistency.

BTW, does anyone know if the MS Manual has been/will be updated to
incorporate terminology and issues related to documenting web apps?

Connie G

-----Original Message-----
From: Barbara Hubert

Our group recently realized that we had this exact issue...still
unresolved, but not really important enough to spend a lot of time on
right now.

We have been calling everything that you may type information into (ie:
window with a field) a window, and calling boxes that convey only a
message and buttons dialog boxes. BUT according to Microsoft's Manual of
Style : "...Windows is a Microsoft registered trademark...dialog boxes
contain buttons, and various options through which users can carry out a
particular command or task. For example, in the Save As dialog box..."

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications, wrote:

>Technically, your programmer was correct, but only reasonably
>computer-literate users will make the same distinction. If
>anything, some users might even be confused if you insisted on
>this distinction.

Our programmer's call windows and dialog boxes, containers, panels, and
message boxes.
As for our communications group, at least we've been making this error
consistently, nobody but us are complaining. And, until we have time to
go back through all our docs, we're stuck with our current usage ;-) .

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