Re: Dialog boxes, writing about

Subject: Re: Dialog boxes, writing about
From: Tom Murrell <trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2000 13:00:25 -0800 (PST)

--- kelli -dot- lewis -at- onyxgfx -dot- com wrote:
> When documenting dialog boxes, windows, forms, etc., I list the
> "elements" of the UI, and then I define functionality.
> For example,
> Name field - enter your username.
> Quantity drop-down list box - select the quantity of whoosits from
> the drop-down list.
> Format radio buttons - select the .rtf, .doc, or .pgt format radio
> button.

And the question is two-fold, sort of. Your 'advisor' thinks the terms
'field', 'drop-down list box', etc. are techno-speak and will scare the
user. I am not too sure about that. I would be happier if the person
making this request of you had some data (survey, poll, emails from
confused or frightened users) to back up the assertion.

On the other hand, if the section this appears in said something like
"Form/Field Description", you could drop those qualifiers. It seems to
me the text becomes more succinct if you say:

Name - Enter Your User Name
Quantity - Select the quantity of whosits you want from the drop down
Format - Select the format you want (.rtf, .doc, .pgt)

I don't think you're wrong, but it is worth considering how to make
descriptions as brief and to the point as possible while retaining
information the user needs.

Tom Murrell
Lead Technical Writer
Alliance Data Systems
Columbus, Ohio
mailto:trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com
Personal Web Page -

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