Re. Terminology: clicking on a tab displays a ?

Subject: Re. Terminology: clicking on a tab displays a ?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "Techwr-L (E-mail)" <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 10:52:00 -0400

Paul Moloney wonders <<Say I have a dialog box that has a series of tabs.
When I click on a tab, what do I call the new "piece" of screen displayed
that was previously hidden? It's not a new dialog box, but I can't call it
"tab" since that
suggests only the, er, "sticking-up" bit with the label on.>>

It depends in part on what happens when you click to select the new tab. In
North American English, the tab can be both the part that sticks out and the
section divider that the tab is connected to; that being the case, I've used
phrasing such as "Enter your own custom value on the 'Miscellaneous costs'
tab" where the tab and the information displayed on it are functionally one
and the same thing. In contrast, if the tab provides access to a series of
additional screens (i.e., a three-ring binder metaphor, in which the tab
itself contains no information, but leads you to pages or screens that do),
the problem gets a bit stickier: something like "the screen(s) accessed via
the 'Miscellaneous costs' tab" would probably work.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

"Technical writing... requires understanding the audience, understanding
what activities the user wants to accomplish, and translating the often
idiosyncratic and unplanned design into something that appears to make
sense."--Donald Norman, The Invisible Computer




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