Re: Choosing a menu option

Subject: Re: Choosing a menu option
From: Christopher Knight <knight -at- ADA -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 12:37:06 PDT

I held off for quite a while, but I've got to comment on some of
the proposed solutions.

First, for Windows software, the Microsoft Style Guide is definitive.
Why are so many of us failing to use it? Could Jack Bonney be right...
no methodology? Even for non-Windows software, Microsoft's guidelines
are a good start.

Second, several people have variants on reproducing the "cascading"
menu effect. Good idea in principle, but there is no standard way of
doing it, so you risk confusing at least some readers.

Thirdly, we should never use phrases like "Go to the File menu".
Nobody is "going" anywhere. This is anthropomorphic hackerese. Use
"From the File menu". An additional benefit is that then we don't
need an "and then" before the next clause. And of course, distinguish
"File" (and all other names of program elements) typographically.

Fourthly, and sorry to repeat, don't say "click" unless using the
mouse is the only possible method of following the procedure. Use
"select" for a list, "check" for a checkbox, and "choose" for all
other GUI elements. The only exception should be a situation where
we knoww that the user population are generally computer-neophytes--
an increasingly rare situation--where we would want to spell out
such a procedure in excruciating (for the rest of us) detail.

Fifthly, why are we still putting periods after step numbers? They
are totally redundant. We should all be following the "Law of
Minimum Ink".

Methodology...can't live with it, can't live without it.
Methodology (noun) A method that has gone to graduate school.

Greetings from sizzling (but not flaming) Vancouver.

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