Re: Refresh vs Update

Subject: Re: Refresh vs Update
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 1995 22:05:01 PDT

>I am responsible for all user documentation and on-screen text in an
>application geared towards non-techie users. We need a name for the
>command and toolbar button that describes what happens when the screen is
>refreshed to display any changes made in the last little while.

Do you really mean to say that you have an application that doesn't
update the screen as changes are made, which you think is geared toward
non-technical users? Weird. You really have to hit a button to see
what it was that you just did? And you think that ordinary users
will not be confused by this?

>The software people here think that Refresh is just fine and very intuitive.
>They feel that Update implies changes that the user would have to perform.
>A few non-techies (English language editors) had no idea what the Refresh
>command would do. They preferred Update.
>I'm easy either way, but would like to choose one of them ASAP.

To an engineer, anything inside their own narrow specialty is intuitive.
Their opinions on such things are valueless unless the target audience
is in the same specialty. Youre "non-techies" are, of
course, correct. Most people think that "Refresh" has to do with having
a Coca-Cola ("the pause that refreshes").

I don't like "Update," either. Since I don't like the concept of
your interface, I'm attracted by calling the button "Huh?" or "Show
me now, dammit!" -- but maybe "Repaint" would be okay.

>Which do you use? Is Refresh standard computer jargon? Perhaps it's not a
>bad idea to help the users learn these type of standard terms and bring
>up their level of computer literacy.

"Refresh" is standard computer jargon, but it's also standard
computer jargon to say that you use "threads" to weave your "lightweight
processes." But educating the user that the Emperor is wearing very
elegant clothes is outside the scope of your assignment, I think --
and there's always the chance that a user might see things differently.

-- Robert

--
Robert Plamondon * Writer * robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (408) 321-8771
4271 North First Street, #106 * San Jose * California * 95134-1215
"Writing is like plumbing -- even people who know how to do it will
pay top dollar to keep their hands clean."


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