RE: Display, Displays, or Appears

Subject: RE: Display, Displays, or Appears
From: "Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: "'Downing, David'" <DavidDowning -at- Users -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2008 12:54:01 -0700

> From: Downing, David

> Lauren
> But what if the next step in the procedure involves doing
> something with
> the window that is opened? Wouldn't you then need to make a point of
> first saying that the window is opened?
> David

Previously in this thread (when the subject line was changed) I provided a
brief example of a procedure for printing an email message in Outlook. What
follows is a quote of that procedure and I used the same names that were
used in the application for the screen elements.

> To Print
> --------
> 1. Click "File" from the toolbar.
> 2. Select and click "Print..." from the dropdown list.
> 3. Choose print options from the print window.
> 4. Click "OK" to print.

If #2 does not open a window, then it will do nothing or something wrong and
there will be an error. Instructions cannot account for every error, but
they should account for every action. The "print window" mentioned in #3 is
the result of an action and, if it is not available, the user should
understand that there was an error, but that is an issue outside the scope
of the instructions. There is nothing in my example that indicates a need
to say that a window opened.

Most operating systems are windows-based now and windows are opened and
closed with such regularity that an action that does not cause a window to
open or close is likely the rarity. How much repetition is produced by
accounting for the new existence of a window? Go through one of your
documents and count all of the occurrences of the phrase "is displayed" or
whatever you use. You can do a search and replace in Word and make the
search and replace strings the same and Word will show the number of
occurrences after running "Replace All."

How many occurrences are there? What is the proportion of occurrences to
number of a pages? If the number is high, then the phrase may be overly and
unnecessarily used. Changing the terms used to convey the concept will only
become confusing, as noted in previous discussions on this thread.

I think that the concept of explaining that a window has opened or closed is
unnecessary these days. Just like it isn't necessary to say, "type on the
keyboard and the characters typed will appear on the screen." Users know
what to expect without being told.



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RE: Display, Displays, or Appears: From: Downing, David

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