Re[2]: Key-whacking

Subject: Re[2]: Key-whacking
From: Susan Gallagher <Susan_Gallagher_at_Enfin-SD -at- RELAY -dot- PROTEON -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 1994 13:38:00 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?

Michael Priestley answers:
>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, IMHO.

I argue against the use of "select" for screen buttons for
the very reasons you describe, Michael. "Select" means
"move the focus to", not "activate". It follows, therefore,
that selecting a button does not perform the action that the
button initiates.

In the user manuals I write at work, we "select" items from
listboxes or options from radio buttons. To accept the
change or initiate the action, we press the Enter key or the
OK button.

In the classroom stuff that I write for the more naive user,
we use "tap" for keys. My partner feels that this is a
Kinder and Gentler approach. Since this is the only
"republican" phrase I've ever heard her utter, I give her
her way. And since we "tap" keys, we "click" buttons.

As long as we are explicit and consistent, our users will
catch on! %-)

Sue Gallagher |
Sr. Technical Writer | "Updating a manual
Easel Corporation | is like changing tires
Enfin Technology Lab | on a moving car."
San Diego, CA | -- Edmond Weiss
Susan_Gallagher_at_Enfin-SD -at- relay -dot- proteon -dot- com |

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