re: upload/download terminology

Subject: re: upload/download terminology
From: Sean Hower <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2004 07:24:48 -0700 (PDT)

sandy.sledge wrote:
In a small sampling of usability testing, the users were confused as to
upload/download and tended to think of those terms in geographical views. This shouldn't be that hard!!!! Has anyone else had this type of userterminology problem and how did you solve it?

It seems to me that this _might_ be one of those instances where your users will simply be confused whether you use a technical term or invent a new "non-technical" (which, by the way then becomes a technical term that they must learn).

Why? Because they are learning a new concept not a new word, and so the actual word you use becomes somewhat marginal to getting across the concept. In such cases, I've always chosen the existing technical term so that I'm not inventing yet another layer of abstraction and feeding future confusion about computer use. Even the end user has to learn something technical some time, so why not the right term at the beginning?

Now if you don't buy this argument and you feel you must invent a new term to replace an industry-wide term for an extremely common concept within that industry, don't pick another industry-wide technical term that has a completely different meaning and then change its meaning. You'll not only do a disservice to your novie users, you will confuse all users who already know and understand upload/download. Your example of ToHandheld and FromHandheld seems fine to me....that is if you don't want to use the technical term.

To avoid all of this, you could simply include a little graphic with the server positioned as the Holy Grail (ala Monty Python) and rays of light beaming down on the handhelds positioned as the ka-nigits (again, ala Monty Python). You could sneak in little cans of spam moving along the rays of light to represent the data flow. :-)

Sean Hower - tech writer

Create your own web site for FREE at


SEE THE ALL NEW ROBOHELP X5 IN ACTION: RoboHelp X5 is a giant leap forward
in Help authoring technology, featuring Word 2003 support, Content
Management, Multi-Author support, PDF and XML support and much more!

>From a single set of Word documents, create online Help and printed
documentation with ComponentOne Doc-To-Help 7 Professional, a new yearly
subscription service offering free updates and upgrades, support, and more.

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: Opinions about AuthorIt
Next by Author: Re: upload/download terminology
Previous by Thread: Re: upload/download terminology
Next by Thread: RE: upload/download terminology

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads