Re: What is the best term to use?

Subject: Re: What is the best term to use?
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: Zen C <zenizenc -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2007 17:46:36 -0700

> The current help refers to these tabs as 'applications' as each tab has its
> unique functionality.

I'm picturing this as a problem that comes from trying to unify a suite
of applications by leveraging an already established metaphor (tabs)
that harks to file drawers, the metaphor that just keeps on giving.
wow, the pendaflex hanging folder aesthetic, what visionary design :-(

Anyway, the problem, as I see it, is that when you think of the apps as
tabs, then calling them applications feels wrong. But If you think of
them as apps, then calling them tabs might seem awkward, or contrived by
a marketing department that doesn't really understand the users, or

As one (myself) who was indoctrinated at an early age to the philosophy
of computing using small apps that each do a limited thing, I'm pretty
jaded by big software and the appearance of ever more features creeping
into everything. The productivity software on my PC designates my main
application as a word processor, but it lets me edit pictures and create
spreadsheets directly without leaving the word processor. Your tabbed
software reminds me of that philosophy of design, which I think loses
sight of the fact that it could probably do what it does just as well
without the tabs and geegaws. But I don't know, maybe the tabbed
interface lets users navigate the programs with fewer clicks or something.

Anyway, if you're facing this problem because you have to write about
it, you can't really go wrong sticking with the terminology of the
vendor who makes the software. You'll be promoting consistency, which is
a prime directive for us in most cases. If you do decide to brsnch out
and call the tabs 'function collections' or 'programs', I'd suggest you
watch your back, because your preferred terminology might be a
trade-off, confusing some people (who will complain to your manager)
even as it makes better sense to others.

Good luck.

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com

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What is the best term to use?: From: Zen C

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