Re: Another Newbie question about procedures

Subject: Re: Another Newbie question about procedures
From: Lou Quillio <public -at- quillio -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 16 May 2005 00:26:11 -0400

Carrie Baker wrote:

When writing a procedure, can you presume that users know that the
last stage is Click OK to confirm your settings,
or should you tell them this.

Having just finished watching "The Motorcycle Diaries" (the credits and music are still rolling in a window behind this one) -- and being boxless by disposition -- I'd say we can't presume a damned thing.

'OK' has always been a bad metaphor, made worse when 'Apply' is right next to it. You and I have learned by hard Windows-land experience that 'Apply' means 'Save these settings' and 'OK' means 'Save these settings and lemme outta here'. But we've _learned_ it. It's not a universal truth, not the only way things can be done, and not a UI fait accompli.

The Apple HIG (human interface guidelines) has no 'OK', nor does the Gnome HIG.

I use a lot of Linux software. Much of it's been written by non-English speakers and, more importantly, much of it doesn't adhere to Windows-style dialog exit metaphors -- which, again, are unclear to the uninitiated. I'm not sure we should canonize something so shabby.

It would be a comfort to suppose that desktop UIs are congealed and settled. It would be a comfort if politics and religion and Esperanto and the common good were known and done, and that functionality can now advance without trifling the small bits of getting it up and working. Yet everything I see says we are not nearly there, probably never will be. Science doesn't stop.

"Click OK to save your changes."

Let's bear in mind, too, that the matter concerns salving UI failures with documentation. There should frankly be no way to fail and no need for explanation. More proof that we're still in the early days, and can't take users and future users for granted.



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Another Newbie question about procedures: From: Carrie Baker

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