Re: Display, Displays, or Appears?

Subject: Re: Display, Displays, or Appears?
From: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 5 Jun 2008 14:44:23 -0700 (PDT)

I take something of an opposite view here. Even if there's only one correct result, I always note where the user's view is supposed to change.

If something goes wrong, the user will be upset whether or not you tell him which screen feature is supposed to appear next. That being the case, we might as well make it easier on him. I think specifying the features that should appear helps in some ways.

If a user action is supposed to result in a particular dialog box or wizard appears, I put something like "Click X, and the SoAndSo wizard opens." If users have to stop what they're doing and come back later, it's easier to find their place in the procedure if they know which screen they should see, than if they have nothing but a numbered list of steps. (That's another reason why I also try to have matching screen caps for each step in a printed user guide.)

And, if something goes wrong - for whatever reason - the earlier the user realizes that something has gone wrong, the better. If he reads the X wizard is supposed to appear in step 4 and the Y wizard appears instead, he knows right then that something happened. That's better than him wasting his time getting down to step 8 before he realizes the wheels have come off.

As far as which word should be used - appear, open, display - I think it really doesn't matter as long as it's used logically and consistently.

--- On Thu, 6/5/08, Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca> wrote:

> If the
> software fails to behave properly, describing what they
> should be
> seeing -- but are not seeing -- is frustrating at best, and
> intimidating or infuriating at worst. However, it's


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Display, Displays, or Appears?: From: Geoff Hart

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