RE: "Picklist"

Subject: RE: "Picklist"
From: "Michael West" <mbwest -at- bigpond -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2008 13:14:48 +1100

> Unfortunately, our style guide requires "picklist" for a dialog box that
has items in a
> column that you "move" to another column in the dialog by clicking a
button. Of
> course, we also have to use "check" and "uncheck" for checkboxes. And, we
> never, never, never, end a sentence with a preposition! Argh. The
> sentences I must write to avoid that one.

They couldn't pay me enough to work under those silly rules. I'd drink
myself into an early grave, or go to the gallows for aggravated editoricide.

Often the best tactic is to avoid mentioning the whiz-bang gadgets at all.
Focus the users' attention on the data and the purpose of the action, not
the container. Who really cares whether it's a picklist or dialog box or
radio button? Those terms usually have no value to the end-user and serve
only to obfuscate. It's what the action accomplishes in the real world that

Depending on the circumstances, I'd probably try to write something like

Make sure the items you want to include are in the right-hand column, and
those you want to exclude are in the left-hand column. You can use the right
and left arrow buttons to move items from one column to another. [If space
permits, I'd include a small graphic with callouts pointing to the arrow
buttons and identifying which column was which.]

At no point would I use the term "picklist" except maybe when deciding whom
to submerge in a vat of vinegar.

Mike West


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Re: "Picklist": From: Michael West
Re: "Picklist": From: Pro TechWriter

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