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----- Original Message -----
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
> Convince the programmers to let _you_ write the error messages,
or at least
> to let you edit the messages before they're incorporated in the
> interface. The first case assumes that they have the time to sit
> you, explain a problem, and work with you to come up with a good
> it's an ideal way to work, but not one you can always do because
> constraints. (Some programmers who have particular problems with
> like it because it's faster than if they had to write the
If you can write a one page or two page do's and don'ts list, get
each programmer to read it and sign it, you will prevent a lot of
the problem in the first place.
> The second case is much easier: the programmers either e-mail
> message so you can edit it and return it via e-mail, or they
give you a file
> (in Delphi, it's called the "language" file according to my pet
> and there are surely equivalents for other languages) that you
> directly in a text editor.
This idea is okay, provided that the programmers get a final say
on anything you edit. You had better review it with them before
you send the software out, and not after the angry customers storm
the marketing department.
> Usually, this also lets you edit user-interface
> terms at the same time (menu names, field labels, etc.).
You do that and you will have crosses burning in your front yard.
Speaking with my programmer hat on, the user interface is not
something that should be edited outside the programming
environment, unless the program was designed that way (we do with
some of our programs, to make them multilingual).
You edit the word or phrase, and it suddenly doesn't fit any more,
the user sees half of it. Or you make it shorter, and now the user
isn't sure what data entry field it refers to. Or you change the
name of a field that is called one thing on 245 other programs,
but is now labelled differently on this screen.
Or maybe you edit for style, not realizing that the term being
used is a well-known and expected one in the industry, say grocery
I do think most programmers could benefit from having a style to
Web interfaces are more flexible,if they resolve to html.
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