RE: Dialog boxes, writing about

Subject: RE: Dialog boxes, writing about
From: "Molly Bowling" <mbowling -at- statsoft -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 08 Nov 2000 11:01:47 -0600

<The individual who wants these terms removed says that they are "engineering
terms and they will scare the average user." He says that the terms do not
benefit the user in any way and are useless. Do you all always include the
abovementioned terms in your documentation, or are they expendable? Do
they scare you?>

I try to be very specific in describing options in my documentation, but our user interface is quite complicated, with multiple tabs, buttons, option buttons, check boxes, etc.

If the interface is very simple, and a user could find an option at a glance, you can probably leave out the "scary" terms. However, if the interface is more complicated, I think it is better to be specific in describing the options simply because the options are then easier to find. I am endlessly changing "use the <blah> option" to "select the <blah> check box on the <blah> tab" just to make sure our customers can find the option without getting frustrated.

We don't differentiate amongst different kinds of "boxes", however. I do think it's a bit much to expect the average user to know the difference between a combo box and a list box.

Molly Bowling
StatSoft, Inc.

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