select v choose v click .....

Subject: select v choose v click .....
From: "Sandy, Corinne" <CHS8 -at- CPSOD1 -dot- EM -dot- CDC -dot- GOV>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 1994 09:37:00 EST

I document Powerbuilder applications (windows based) and at first I used
the cumbersome "click on." I soon switched to "select" because it was
concise. In my applications, when a user selects a record it is
highlighted, but it is not executed. They then choose a function, such as
open, to perform an operation on the record. However, I also use the term
"select" when they are to "choose" a
function (button) or menu option. In my opinion, the act of selecting is
the same. What happens when a function or a record is selected is related
directly to the "item" they are selecting. Obviously, a button will not
appear highlighted (but in some cases I have seen it look compressed (or
three dimensional) when it is selected). It is a behind-the-scenes
operation, one which I do not involve the user in.
I don't believe that I need to confuse the user with superfluous terms.
However, every application works differently, so you must keep that in
mind when documenting. Also, the audience you are addressing is also
important. Windows-users know what "select" means. If I were reading
documentation and already knew what select meant, I would resent being
bogged down by additional, or inconsistent, terms when there were more
important matters to attend to, such as learning the software.

Recently, I performed a tutorial for Excel (Microsoft) and they use "click"
to signify selecting an icon or a menu option--not "click on." The bottom
line was I knew what they were directing me to do. I really don't care what
anyone calls it as long as I know what the heck they're talking about. You
can use all the "correct" terminology and put out lousy documentation (for
an example of this check out the Robohelp manual). Don't sacrifice the
essence of what you are ultimately attempting to do, namely, helping the
user, by getting lost in nit-picky details.

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