RE: Name of Hardware Control?

Subject: RE: Name of Hardware Control?
From: "Mark Baker" <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com>
To: "'Nancy Allison'" <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2011 10:52:42 -0400

Nancy Allison wrote:

> This is why the white circles have no printed names: their
> function changes with each change of the UI text.
>
> What the heck do you call them? "Pushbutton" has been
> suggested and I may go with it. Are other terms in use?
Nancy,

Back in the days when such things were new, I heard them called "soft keys",
but that is really a techie term and not one that the user should be
expected to recognize. It is pretty difficult to imagine that anyone today
is going to be unfamiliar with soft key interfaces. Unless you know that
your audience has never owned a cell phone or used a bank machine, then
there is no need to name the buttons. If a thing does not have a natural
name that is universally recognized, giving it a name in directions just
introduces one more puzzle for the reader to solve.

I'd suggest that you focus on describing the logical action rather then the
physical one: "Press Options", rather than "Press the Options soft key."

Mark

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References:
Name of Hardware Control?: From: Nancy Allison

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