Re: Control Labels in GUI

Subject: Re: Control Labels in GUI
From: Stewart Walker <stewart -dot- walker -at- CPE -dot- COM -dot- AU>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 1996 09:56:15 +1000

Hi Susan

Sounds like we're grappling with similar issues at the moment...

>I'm interested in your thoughts on the following
>wording used in a Windows 3.1 application for
>nontechnical users.

>(1) "Filter" as a group box label

>This group box contains 2 to 4 option buttons
>and/or drop-down list boxes. Users select one
>or more options to limit the number of items
>displayed in the adjacent "Search Results"
>list box.

>Problem: Some of our reviewers feel that the
>term "filter" is too technical for this group of users.
>Any ideas?

I agree it's too technical. I don't know of how to solve the problem with a
brief label. A more descriptive label may be the answer, such as:

- Show items that are: (the idea is to have a stem sentence that is
continued by the labels for the option buttons and drop-downs)
- Display items that match these criteria
- Display these items

>(2) "Select" as a command button label

>This button is available AFTER a user selects an
>item from a list box. When the user selects this
>button, the application displays detailed information
>about the item.

>Problem: "Select" does not describe the command
>associated with the button. We suggested "Open"
> instead, but another command actually opens the item.
>According to the specs, this button "enables users to
>drill down for more information." So, the developers call it
>the Drill Down button. (oh joy)

We're currently debating what to call exactly the same functionality! Hey
we're not developing competing apps. are we?!

Our current standard (under attack at present) is to use Edit when users can
change the details and View when they can't. Many of us prefer to use
Details in both cases, and then make it clear by the way information is
presented whether users are able to change it. It's an ongoing battle!

Hope this helps.

"Make it idiot-proof and someone will make a better idiot." -- Anon

Stewart Walker
User Assistance Specialist
Computer Power Education, ITS R&D Project
L4, 493 St Kilda Rd Melbourne 3004
Ph: +61 3 9243 2343
Fax: +61 3 9820 2010
E-mail: stewart -dot- walker -at- cpe -dot- com -dot- au
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