Re: Help with a term

Subject: Re: Help with a term
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2012 07:45:18 -0700

On 4/23/2012 7:08 AM, Weissman, Jessica wrote:

For a software architecture document (ie no users in the audience, only internals very familiar with the task and problem) I need a term. We are describing the approach to the UI for creating and submitting the electronic equivalent to a paper form. The idea is to provide a guided data entry path, not unlike TurboTax. Users will answer some questions, and then be shown either a table that looks like the detail lists in TurboTax or is a small form-ish section with a few fields and data labels. They fill in the data requested, then go on to another screen OR another set of questions.

We need a name for those detail sections. We can't use "form", as that term is reserved for the paper forms.

Why would "form" be exclusive to paper forms? Is the documentation really constructed in such a way that a person reading about the application would be led to believe that users are adding information to a paper form while they go through the application?

Any ideas? How about "data entry block"?

Software applications normally call a formatted data entry screen a "form." Calling it anything else can only lead to confusion. You could call it a "data entry form," but that is a bit old school.

I could also finesse by saying something like "users will answer a few questions, and then enter data on a set of screens that display only the relevant fields as determined by the answers to those questions."

If I was editing a document with that sentence, I would wonder why the technical writer would not just use, "form," rather than define a form without stating the word. I know it is a four-letter word that begins with the letter "f," but it is not a bad word to use in this case.

What do you think?

Call it a "form." You can call it a "pop-up form" a "data entry form" if you really want more words.

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