Re: "The dialog box will appear"

Subject: Re: "The dialog box will appear"
From: Dan Roberts <Dan_Roberts -at- IBI -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 1997 15:00:16 EDT

The GUI writer at our site decisively sidestepped this issue by
selecting "dialog box opens".

I've gone thru the following options, with the associated problems:
"...appears" (NLS and translation concerns)
"...displays" (transitive verb incorrectly used)
"...is displayed" (passive voice)

The NLS concern was supposedly that when translated to Chinese
languages, "appears" could be translated to a verb that carries
connocations of magic and ghostly apparitions. Has anyone else heard
this and can confirm it? Or should I relegate this to the Urban Legend
that Geoff mentions?



______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: "The dialog box will appear"
Author: geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca at tcpgate
Date: 3/21/97 2:18 PM


At least a year ago, we discussed how to communicate the
results of an action to software users. The debate focused
on two alternatives: "The dialog box will appear" vs. "The
dialog box appears". The main logic brought to bear against
the former was that it doesn't tell users _when_ the dialog
box will appear, and moreover, it's one word longer than it
needs to be; the arguments against the latter were that the
dialog box may not appear immediately, and moreover, many
readers stumble over the verb and wonder "appears to do
what?"

At the time, there was a slight majority in favor of
"appears", but I'd like to revisit this debate and get some
more feedback on the issue. Are we choosing one over the
other based on urban legend, or based on established,
successful techniques? I'm particularly interested in
feedback based on usability studies or published cognitive
psychology work... "facts", not just personal preferences.
(Please provide references, if any!) Because a large
majority of personal opinions in favor of one alternative
would comprise a mini-usability test of sorts, personal
opinions are also welcome, but I'd also like to be somewhat
objective about this if at all possible.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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