RE: Click X, or click the X button?

Subject: RE: Click X, or click the X button?
From: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, RichardCombs <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 2009 18:00:16 -0700 (PDT)

Yep. My experience has taught me that I must always plan for the audience including at least one guy who needs to be reminded what a mouse click is.

I had a job where I had to modify a user guide I had produced. In accordance with the customer's wishes, the guide was painfully detailed, with screen captures of every UI feature that had to be used at every procedure step. Every It included directions on *what* was to be put in each data input field, which dropdown list selections to use, which check boxes to mark... Every step had its own screen cap, even if it was the 28th duplicate image of that feature. Each screen cap of a data field or a dropdown box showed the correct entry to make at that point. The user could get through each procedure even if the verbiage was removed, just by following the sequence of images of the UI features. A week after I sent off the final copy, I got back (and fulfilled) a request to add an appendix that explained how to turn on the PC and how to use a mouse. This was in 2005. No joke.

--- On Thu, 10/22/09, Combs, Richard <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com> wrote:

> From: Combs, Richard <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
> Subject: RE: Click X, or click the X button?
> To: "techwr-l List" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Date: Thursday, October 22, 2009, 5:14 PM
> 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 ...


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RE: Click X, or click the X button?: From: Combs, Richard

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