Re: Usability studies and bold text for software documentation

Subject: Re: Usability studies and bold text for software documentation
From: Christopher Knight <knight -at- ADA -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 1997 16:10:11 PDT

Offhand I don't know of any studies on this, but age-old typographical
wisdom supports the idea that "legibility increases when you decrease
the number of typographic changes in a sentence". Unfortunately, some
traditional editors and publishers make this dogma, and it conflicts
with the requirement that readers be absolutely certain when we use a
"proper noun", i.e. the formal name of a data element or program

IMHO, Microsoft's use of bold is unneccessary: I use a regular
Helvetica (or Arial--sans-serif in any event) for the names of any
program or data elements. It is discernible, but not intrusive,
amongst the regular Times body text.
And, I never say "Click the OK button." I say "Choose OK.", with "OK"
formatted as described above. Why? Because what you want them to do
is, in effect, say "OK, I'm finished here; carry on". They can often
do that by pressing Enter just as easily as clicking on OK. So
"choose OK" is generic, as well as short.

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