Re: Labels on forms: Abbreviate or use symbols?

Subject: Re: Labels on forms: Abbreviate or use symbols?
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Feb 2010 09:11:35 -0800

What does it say on whatever source the person entering the data is getting it
from? For mission-critical applications such as medical records, data labels
should all match exactly, even if it means the forms need to be redesigned to
fit the labels. This is especially important if the people entering the data
are non-professionals (i.e., the patients themselves).

If the data is abbreviated on patient ID cards, you should use whatever
abbreviation is being used there. If it is not abbreviated there, you should
not abbreviate it anywhere else.

Gene Kim-Eng


----- Original Message -----
From: "Cheryl Magadieu" <cmagadieu -at- gmail -dot- com>
> My company's usability standards team has a question about the style for
> abbreviations and symbols in form labels. Our company's product is online,
> and the user interface often uses two-column tables to display forms. The
> forms include sections where users enter data such as patient names,
> addresses, and phone numbers. Sometimes the form labels are so long that we
> can't fit them into the allotted space without abbreviating them or using
> symbols. For example, one label is "Patient Account Number." We're debating
> whether to abbreviate it as "Patient Account No." or to use the pound
> symbol: "Patient Account #". Which usage do you think would be more familiar
> to users, both in the U.S. as well as internationally? I checked a few style
> guides to see if they provide any guidance, but the only guidance I could
> find was to avoid abbreviations whenever possible.

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References:
Labels on forms: Abbreviate or use symbols?: From: Cheryl Magadieu

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