Word choice: exceptions?

Subject: Word choice: exceptions?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 2002 08:28:46 -0400


Colleen MacKenzie reports: <<Our web-based product displays errors and
warnings upon submission of a form. The errors & warnings are displayed in a
popup modal window that receives focus upon display. We are currently
referring to this group of errors & warnings as "Exceptions." I'm not
convinced that this is a common word that will be understood by
non-technical users.>>

If you use "exceptions", the viewer's immediate question becomes "exceptions
to what?" In fact, what your window is explaining is (to use your own words)
"errors and warnings", and if that's an accurate description, that's also a
good choice of words. Never try to shoehorn a two-word concept into a single
word! <g>

If you really need a single word, then "results" is probably the best one
going. "I clicked OK, now tell me the results of that action. Darn... two
errors and a warning. Okay, now I've corrected the problems and tried again.
Yay... success on the second try. Them's the kind of results I was hoping
for!"

--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada
"User's advocate" online monthly at
www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/usersadvocate.html
"When ideas fail, words come in very handy."--Goethe

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