Re: huh?

Subject: Re: huh?
From: "Janice Gelb" <janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 May 2003 17:08:17 -0600

> "Janice Gelb" <janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com> wrote in message news:197595 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> > Unfortunately, these interfaces tend to be exceedingly
> > idiosyncratic, as standard rules cannot be enforced. (One
> > would hope that good user interface practices would be,
> > but trust me, that's usually a vain and idle hope :-> )
> > There are interfaces where the fields and menus change names
> > depending on a previous choice, where buttons change function
> > sometimes without changing names, installation screens are
> > written by engineers who assume the users know their cryptic
> > names for functions, and a host of other potentially confusing
> > behaviors. Online help for the web is also a mix of pop-up
> > windows, mouse-over lines, and so on.
> How do you know its cryptic? I mean if you're not an advanced user with
> extensive understanding of the technology/industry, how can you effectively
> judge something as cryptic?

I've been doing this a long time, so I generally have a
pretty good feel for what is general terminology in the
industry and what isn't. If something seems a bit off, I
look it up on the web. Or I ask -- remember, I'm the editor
here, not the writer. If the writer doesn't know, I suggest
checking with the SME. Even well-informed engineers do
occasionally use idiosyncratic internal jargon that is *not*
common. If you've been on a team for over a year that's been
designing an internal product, everyone *you* know might
know what you mean by something, but the outside world probably
won't. I've seen this happen enough times that I'd rather hear
back from the writer that it is a term used in a segment of
the industry than not mark something that seems off and
later find out that readers are confused by some internal
term we're using as if everyone will know what it means.

-- Janice


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