Re: upload/download terminology

Subject: Re: upload/download terminology
From: Chuck Martin <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2004 11:06:52 -0700

sandy -dot- sledge -at- itron -dot- com wrote:

I'm trying to write some user documentation about uploading/downloading
data from an application server to a handheld computer.

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.
One user used "upload" when the data was sent to the office north of the
application server (up is north on a map). Another user used "upload" to
send data to an office south of the application server, but since that
office was on a hill, they were going "up." Crazy - huh? We have decided
to NOT use upload/download because of the confusion.


This shouldn't be that hard!!!! Has anyone else had this type of user
terminology problem and how did you solve it?

Sometimes when you have terminology that works and is generally accepted, gently educating users can be a solution. Is there an easy way to make it clear that "upload" means sending from the device to anywhere and vice versa?

If not, then maybe not limiting to one-word commands is a solution. For example, a cascading menu where the top-level command is Transfer and two sub-menus might be To Server and From Server (or To Device and From Device). You could even do To Server (Upload) and From Server (Download).

Chuck Martin
User Assistance & Experience Engineer
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net

"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.
The day may come when the courage of Men fail, when we forsake our
friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day!
This day, we fight!"
- Aragorn

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
- Gandalf


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