Hocus pocus focus
Subject: Hocus Pocus (was "appears" vs. "is displayed")
From: "Thomas Quine" <quinet -at- home -dot- com>
I'm inclined to add the word "will", (making this the future conditional
tense) since it adds the implication "If you click the "New" button, the New
Customer window will appear." If you just say it appears, that seems to me
to sever the causality between the apparition and the act of clicking the
Why not instruct the user to click the New button to display the window? That tells the user what to click, and what to expect as the result.
I went back and took another look at some documents I recently helped create, and I did find the construct "the following data will display..." although more often we said "the screen will display the..." We also used alternate verbs such as "the header area indicates the mode."
One TW manager I had was also in the camp that says data displays, and magicians appear. I thought it sounded silly at the time but these days I prefer "display" because it sounds more deliberate.
I could imagine using "appear" when writing for users who probably never use "display" as we are here. For someone who knows next to nothing about a GUI interface, perhaps windows and messages really do appear, wraithlike, from unknown causes.
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