Re: maximum characters in a text box (how to say)

Subject: Re: maximum characters in a text box (how to say)
From: doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2006 09:23:34 -0800

On Thursday 02 February 2006 14:27, christopher macdonald wrote:

> I'm wondering if anyone has wording to describe how many characters can be
> entered into a text box. Here are a couple of samples I've seen:

You mentioned international audience, so I suggest aiming for something very
literal and to the point. While experienced computer users anywhere in the
world won't need anything more edifying than any one of the examples you've
given, still, if the interface text is to be localized (maybe by non-native
English speaking localizers who depend heavily on a dictionary), you might
find that 'maximum characters' is obtuse--the instruction ought to convey
that the text entry area is _limited_.

> Maximum characters: 256

Careful or you could end up with a helpful localized text box instruction like
"Biggest text: 256"

> Max char: 256

No no no. I mean, yes if you meant to capitalize Char. Oh nevermind. NO.

> 256 characters or less

I believe the Agile methodology would pick any one of these examples and go
with it, if the audience is computer/GUI literati. Experienced users would
instinctively understand regardless of how garbled the instruction might

> 256 characters or fewer

The solution for me would be "Text entry is limited to 256 characters".

> The style guide I'm using doesn't have a recommendation. I'm writing for an
> international audience.

I'd like to be a fly on the wall when the text entry box won't take more than
128 characters because the international user is keyboarding a double-byte
character set.

> Best..chrismac

Have fun. :)

Ned Bedinger
Ed Wordsmith Technical Communications


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maximum characters in a text box (how to say): From: christopher macdonald

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