Re: Format of GUI element names

Subject: Re: Format of GUI element names
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2000 11:57:36 -0800

Bill Swallow wrote:
> > I agree with you that the clutter is a design
> > disaster. Also, why
> > burden readers with too many conventions? The fact
> > that you
> > capitalize "Save" and clearly identify it as a
> > button seems all
> > that's necessary.
> Unless you want to make your document skimmable for
> people who are reading it while performing the steps
> in the application. There's no reason why you cannot
> create a stylistic convention for a button name. It
> doesn't have to be cluttered, and won't be, if you
> consider the overall design of your document when
> planning these stylistic conventions.

Maybe I should have said that I was assuming that,if you have a
stylistic convention for buttons, there's no real reason not to have
a convention for other elements of the interface, too. If each of
these elements has a convention that is different enough not to
mistake it for another one, then clutter is unavoidable.

However, my main reason for preferring not to use a special
convention is that it's largely wasted effort. The reactions of
readers (and my own reaction) tell me that too many conventions only
create a distracting anxiety; the reaction seems to be, "Is this
typeface conveying some information that I should know about?" Since
what's being conveyed is fairly trivial, the convention becomes a
kind of static that interfers with the clear transmission of ideas.

Nor do I think that a lack of convention interfers with skimming.
Since procedures generally have short paragraphs, skimming for
capitals and "button" isn't too difficult. Anyway, how often do
people scan for buttons, as opposed to procedures?

Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
Contributing Editor, Maximum Linux
604.421.7189 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

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