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> > Wikipedia says the proper term is "incremental find." .... what's
> > the best term to use? The one that is descriptive but wordy and
> > informal, or the term that is technical but unclear?
> I can't imagine an audience for whom "technical" (whatever that
> means) would trump "descriptive and clear". I mean, what if
> you could find another term that was even MORE technical, but
> which not a single one of your readers would understand? Would
> you consider using that term?
Amen! Bravo! Huzzah!
> If you use "incremental find", you'll have to explain what it
> means... And your explanation will probably include the phrase
> "find as you type". Why not just call it "find-as-you-type"
> and be done?
> As for technical versus explanatory terms, if you had never seen a
> and I decided to call it "flush-bodily-waste-out-a-pipe device" you
> understand the idea, but it's name is still "toilet." In other words,
> commonly accepted name is more important than a descriptive name.
Well, knowing what to call that device is awfully handy in everyday
life. That's a valid analogy if your readers need to learn the term
because they'll be using it regularly. For instance, if you're writing
for programmers or user interface professionals, you'd want to use the
technical term, just as you'd distinguish between drop-down, edit, and
But if you're telling ordinary users how to perform a task that includes
using the search function, they don't need to learn the term (and
probably couldn't care less). A clear description of what to expect is
the _most_ they need: "As you type, the system finds widgets that match
what you enter."
They may not even need that, if they're reasonably comfortable using
computers. They'll discover -- and understand -- the "find-as-you-type"
feature as soon as they start to type. It's a good idea to let users
learn some things on their own and encourage "discovery" (in situations
where no harm can come from it).
IMHO, of course. :-)
Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom
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