Re: Dialog boxes, writing about

Subject: Re: Dialog boxes, writing about
From: "Jane Bergen" <jane -dot- bergen -at- usa -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2000 15:17:23 -0600


The trend is away from using those terms (radio button, drop-down list,
etc.) as they are often unnecessary and just contribute to "clutter" in
procedures, aside from making the writing sound "jargon-y." Of course, it
may depend upon your audience and the product you're documenting.

For documenting a program that builds UIs for example, it may be very
necessary to differentiate between these types of elements or controls.
For end user documentation, however, it's generally better to just say,
"Click Whatsit to ..." than to say "Click the Whatsit radio button to...".
On the few occasions that you do need to specify the screen object, you
can almost always say "button" instead of "radio button" --- or "list"
instead of "drop-down list."

The Microsoft Manual of Style also recommends eliminating those extraneous
terms. I'm not sure about the Sun style guide (titled "Read Me First"),
but I'd assume it would also recommend eliminating the longer form
whenever possible.

Jane Bergen

----- Original Message -----
From: <kelli -dot- lewis -at- onyxgfx -dot- com>

> 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
> list.
> Format radio buttons - select the .rtf, .doc, or .pgt format radio
> Okay, here's where your opinion comes in. I've got someone here who
wants me to
> remove the terms "field," "drop-down list box," "radio button," etc.
from these
> sections of the document. For some reason, this makes my hair stand on
end. I
> looked through manuals and online help that I have hanging around my
desk, and
> all of them specify the elements of UI.

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