Re: "Picklist"

Subject: Re: "Picklist"
From: "Michael West" <mbwest -at- bigpond -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 19:40:26 +1100

> Have just come across this word for the first time. I find it . . .
> unpleasant.
> Do you use this term? Surely "listbox" or just plain "list" are the
> usual terms. Or has this word been around and I've just missed it?

Oh, it's been around -- I think of it as programmerspeak. In writing for
users there's no need for it -- or for "listbox". A list is a list. Why
require people to get used to a new set of terms for things that have
nothing to do with their real work? It's better to use the terms they
already know. Everybody knows what a list is.

I might write either of the following:

a) Click the down arrow next to the Name box and then choose a name from the

b) In the Name box, choose a name from the drop-down list.

I would use the first if writing for users who might be unsure of how to
find the list. I'd use the second if I could be fairly sure that the users
would know how to find the list; for example, if this was an instruction for
a form that included numerous drop-downs. It's reasonable to assume that
after you've told them once or twice how to display the list, you needn't
keep on doing it with monotonous regularity.

Mike West


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