Choosing a menu option "From the Create menu, choose Message

Subject: Choosing a menu option "From the Create menu, choose Message
From: Eileen Foran <Eileen_M_Foran -at- KPMG -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 08:55:54 -0400

Oona Sullivan <oona -at- ABC -dot- GOV -dot- AU> wrote:

>To me, the word "choose" implies a choice, and if I want to create
>a message I have no choice about which menu option I use - I must use
>the Message option on the Create menu, therefore, my preferred
>word is "select", as in either:

>From the Create menu, select Message, or, Select Message from the
>Create menu.

Okay. I've been following this thread and have yet to see my solution
posted. My rule of thumb is to tell users exactly what they need to
do. For example: "From the Create menu, click on Message." The key
word here is "click on." It leaves no doubt about HOW to choose the
command in the menu. I know that most users are well aware of how to
choose a command in a menu, but I make it absolutely clear just in

>And about the order of the sentence: Consider the following:
>You're giving instructions to a car driver, would you say Turn
>right at the next set of traffic lights, or, At the next set of
>traffic lights, turn right.
>If you choose the first one, chances are that the driver will
>react when you say "turn right" and not wait til the end of the

I'm reminded of a M*A*S*H episode ("The Army-Navy Game") where Hawkeye
and Trapper are trying to defuse a bomb in the camp. They received
instructions from HQ. Trapper was reading the instructions to Hawkeye.

Trapper reads- "Cut the blue wire..." (which Hawkeye does), "...but

Everyone runs away and the bomb explodes, spewing American propaganda
leaflets everywhere.


TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
to 2500+ readers, e-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send commands
Search the archives at or search and
browse the archives at

Previous by Author: Help Me Find the Information
Next by Author: Looking for reputable contract agency in San Francisco
Previous by Thread: Java vs. JavaScript
Next by Thread: Re: Choosing a menu option "From the Create menu, choose Message

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads