Re: Terminology for Select Exit

Subject: Re: Terminology for Select Exit
From: John Bell <jbell -at- PARAGREN -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 13:47:12 -0500

Susan W. Gallagher writes:
> You serve users well if you create right-branching sentences, telling
> them first the menu, then the option. I use an arrow to separate the
> menu name from the option name, as in:
>
> Select File > Exit from the menu.
>

Agreed. But I do it just a tad differently, like this:
Pull down [the] File [menu] and click [the] Exit [command].
If I know my audience is very GUI-literate I omit the stuff in the square
brackets. If my audience is questionable, I use the longer form. GUI-
literate users will recognize that "Pull down" is something you do with
a menu, so they will go looking for a File menu. Given that, Exit is
obviously a menu command.

Taking this all a step further, I always try to make such instructions
task-oriented:
To exit RACER, pull down File and click Exit.

This example is not yet complete. In the task part, I used the verb "exit"
but there are so many choices to use. To complete the job, you have
to list all the variations in the index (quit, cancel, leave, stop, halt, and so
on).

If the menu has sub-menus, the sentence gets a bit longer.
To view a different document, pull down Views, click Documents,
then click a document's name.

(Extra points for anyone who can correctly identify the product and platform
I used in the above example.)

--- John Bell
jbell -at- paragren -dot- com
(Paragren Technologies, formerly Cornerstone Technologies)

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