RE: Click X, or click the X button?

Subject: RE: Click X, or click the X button?
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l List" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2009 15:14:20 -0600

Keith Hood wrote:

> My rationale: there may be more than one control visible labeled "X" -
> seen that on poorly designed UIs. So the user may have times when
there is
> an X button and an X menu. The explicitness of "click on the X button"
> tells the user exactly what to look for. If you just write "click X,"
> will be users who will think, "the X what?" Some users will have that
> problem even if there aren't redundant control labels. Also (minor
> time), the mouse button is what you're actually touching, so you you
> the mouse button, but you click when the pointer is *on* the screen
> control.

Know your audience, I suppose. Many years ago, when mice were new, maybe
some audiences needed extremely detailed instructions: "Move the mouse
on its pad until the pointer on the screen is over the rectangular
button with the word XYZ on it. Then quickly depress and release the
left button on the mouse once, producing a clicking sound."

Later, for most audiences, the instruction "click the X button" was
sufficiently clear that further elaboration was simply distracting and
annoying wordiness. Not to mention condescending.

Today, for most audiences (and in most semi-decent UIs), anything more
than "click X" is neither necessary nor helpful.

But that's for most audiences. Know your audience ...

Robert Lauriston wrote:

> You include a screen capture for every button? Even Save and Next?
> Cropped to the button, whole dialog, or what?
> To me, that's tech-writer busywork that leads to bloated docs and
> slows down readers. I do that only when the UI is bad and it's clear
> that the user will have trouble finding the UI element.

Couldn't agree more.

For most audiences, of course ...

Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom


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Click X, or click the X button?: From: jennysubs
RE: Click X, or click the X button?: From: Leonard C. Porrello
Re: Click X, or click the X button?: From: Robert Lauriston

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