RE: Display, Displays, or Appears

Subject: RE: Display, Displays, or Appears
From: "Downing, David" <DavidDowning -at- Users -dot- com>
To: "Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2008 16:06:30 -0400


Okay, so you just refer to the window without explicitly saying it
opened. That makes sense. However, I am still concerned about the
situation where something goes wrong and the window isn't displayed as
it should be. You say that's outside the scope of the instructions, but
I'd be more comfortable if it were accounted for somehow.

As far as cleaning up my documentation to remove unnecessary instances
of "The window is displayed," that, I'd have to take up with out editor.
Another factor that must be considered is what your existing policies
and style guide tell you to do.

-----Original Message-----
From: Lauren [mailto:lauren -at- writeco -dot- net]

> 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
brief example of a procedure for printing an email message in Outlook.
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
there will be an error. Instructions cannot account for every error,
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
of the instructions. There is nothing in my example that indicates a
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
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"
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
number of a pages? If the number is high, then the phrase may be overly
unnecessarily used. Changing the terms used to convey the concept will
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
keyboard and the characters typed will appear on the screen." Users
what to expect without being told.


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

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