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For examples, 1) does one "Click" or "Select" his/her choice?
Or 2) is there a standard way to say, "Click (or select) the little
arrow to the right of the combo box to pull down the list from which
you select, etc"?
Or, 3) what does one do with scroll bars? Scroll? Hold down the mouse
on the down arrow of the scroll bar until you see...
I don't want specific answers to these few examples. I want to know if
Microsoft (or anyone else) has evolved a style guide to describe the
common actions one performs at the user interface.
When I was documenting Windows-based software (last job), I used the
standard Windows language just to maintain consistency. I didn't feel the
need to reinvent the wheel as far as picking the right terminology,
despite how awkward Microsoft terminology might be in some cases. Since
users of Windows usually understand what "clicking" a button means, I use
those terms. Whenever I was in doubt about what to call an action or an
item on the screen, I just looked for examples in the Windows user guide.
In your #2 and #3 examples, I wouldn't go so far as to explain what
scrolling is or how to use a combo box. Those without a working knowledge
of the Windows environment are directed to consult the Windows user
guide. After all, Microsoft provided the standard, and with it the
information for its use.
Now that I write documentation for OS/2 applications, I do the same
thing: use IBM terminology for the various actions and items on the