RE: Page or screen?

Subject: RE: Page or screen?
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Chris Despopoulos <despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2013 18:21:33 -0500

I disagree with your use of "screens". I'd say "dialogs" or views or use some app-specific / plug-in-specific term, according to what is going on in whatever part of the visual real estate, but not "screens" if I could help it.

Most of the time, an application (webbish or otherwise) is presenting material for consumption - in which case I'd say "page" or "pdf" or "video" or "game" or "widget" (as you mentioned) or whatever seemed to fit - or it is asking for interaction in a dialog of some description (a simple one-or-two buttons, or a more complicated form of some kind).

As far as I'm concerned, "screen" - in the sense of what is displayed on the physical device - went out with monochrome terminals interacting with main-frame apps. When you finished filling fields, you hit [Enter] and the entire content of the display - a screenful - was replaced with whatever came next. There are other, better, more specific terms that fit the individual situation in modern apps and web pages.

If the wall-to-wall appearance changes, then "page" is a good term.
If much of the presentation remains static while a small portion is active, then window or frame or dialog or... or... but not "screen".

Of course, opinions are like _______s. Everybody's got one. :-)
And I've been wrong before. But not today, as it happens, so this might be my big shot at being wrong for the day.

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Despopoulos
Sent: January-21-13 8:10 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Page or screen?

Lots of interesting issues here...

First, I don't agree that MS Style Guide says this is a page:
Refers to one of a collection of web documents that make up a website. Use page to refer to the page the user is on, that is, the particular document, or to a specific page such as the home page or start page.
Also, use page instead of screen to refer to an individual screen within a wizard.

As the original question points out, the "page" (the web "document", or that which has a specific URL) *contains* the application, but the application has a series of different "screens" within it.  When you change screens you don't change the URL (the container), and the browser doesn't store these screen changes in its history.  I would say these widgets are whatever the application lexicon calls them...  Views, tabs, or even screens.  But they are NOT pages, and the *browser* lexicon doesn't apply, IMO.  

What's interesting here is that the line between application and content is getting hazy.  For technical writers this is a good thing.  That this question comes up, and that (no matter who's right or wrong, or if there IS a right or wrong) you can argue completely different answers, says that the presentation side of an application is increasingly coming into the content domain...  Literally, and not just figuratively.

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Re: Page or screen?: From: Chris Despopoulos

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