RE: using "field"

Subject: RE: using "field"
From: Alan Bucher <bucherino -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 2003 14:16:35 -0800 (PST)

Paul Strasser wrote:
>If I had the choice, sans the edicts of Mr. Client, I'd probably opt
>for "field" anyway. To me, the MS Style Guide is pretty confused
>about the use of the term "box." For example, Your dialog box
>contains text boxes and list boxes and group boxes, and ....

Doesn't sound confused at all to me. Sounds like a clearly and
consistently specified list of names.

>This ability to use a simple word for such diverse functions is
>rather clever, but it doesn't automically follow that it encourages

What it does encourage is consistency across applications, which in
turn makes it easier for users to take what they learn from one app
and use it on another. Why should we as an industry subject our users
to "text box", "field", "entry area", and a slew of other terms for
the exact same object? Why actively cause users to say "What's a
field? Oh, it's what ProductA calls a 'text box'"."

Like it or not, Microsoft creates the UI that runs almost all apps in
the world, and that gives them the power to name things. Using
non-standard terminology may make you feel like you're fightin' the
Man, but it's not doing your users any favors.

>Of course, if our next clients demand we use the word "box," that's
>what I'll do.

But didn't they hire you to provide them with expertise in the area
of user communication? Seems silly for them to make unknowledgeable
demands that conflict with your professional recommendations. If
they're the ones who are going to tell you when terminology
conventions have changed, then what are they paying you for?

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