Re: Key-whacking

Subject: Re: Key-whacking
From: mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 1994 11:28:47 EST

Fred writes:
>I favor "press." It's so simple and direct. If you're worried about
>readers holding down the key too long, define "press" and "press and
>hold" in your preface (although we all know no one ever reads it).
>If that's not enough, I guess "tap" is all right, although it _is_
>rather informal. _I_ suggest "click!" We already use it for mouse
>buttons; why not keys?

I use press as well. For mouse-selection, though, I use "select", since
a significant number of our users don't actually use mice, but arrow-keys
and the Enter key instead (move focus to button on screen, press Enter).
Select thus serves as shorthand for either method. Click is too closely
associated with the action of the mouse to be generalized to other methods,

I'm not sure whether you were referring to buttons _on_ the mouse, above,
or buttons on-screen (selected _with_ the mouse). In either case, though,
I don't think it serves as a good synonym for "press". As someone else has
probably already noted, users are apt to stare bemusedly at keyboard/screen
(whichever is wrong) for looong minutes before realizing their mistake (or
giving up). I think it's useful to use different terminology for screen and
keyboard, since that way the user can know where to look (assuming they
figure out how the terminology is being used, which assumes the terminology is
used consistently).

Take care,

Michael Priestley
mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
Disclaimer: Read at your own risk. IBM thinks I'm working right now....

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