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See the MS Style Guide for Technical Documents for what this stuff is.
Whether you agree with it or not, MS owns the world. Therefore, if your
users have used help or manuals at all, they were probably MS produced.
Therefore, the terminology they are probably familiar with is from MS. You
do the user a favor by using the same terminology. One less thing for them
to learn as they learn your program.
And they are called tabs - the Farm tab. Never call menus pull-down. It
infers that pull-down is an attribute the user has to attend to and they
quickly get confused thinking that they need to understand the difference of
all these things. They don't need to know that. A menu is a menu. My
observation about the confusion is based on years of teaching people how to
use Windows, not research, but it has held out across the board for me.
Lists are lists, not drop-downs, scrollable, or anything else. it is just
really confusing if you make the user determine what kind of list it is
before they can use it. There are rarely panels in Windows. Screens and
windows are generally the entire application. A dialog box generally has an
OK and Cancel button at least, etc. And they type things in text boxes. It
is more active than enter and avoids confusion with the Enter key on the
My opinion, as always...
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>I'm having a discussion with marketing on the standardized usage of certain
>words. When you are writing your manuals/online Help, when do you use the
>following words: window, screen, panel, and palette? I am looking for a
>guide on the general acceptance on when to use these terms - or any other
>common ones (pull-down menus, etc.).
>Also, we have a screen that has six tabs across the top of it. Each time
>click a tab a screen appears which corresponds to the name of that tab. For
>example one tab is named Farm. On that screen you enter the name, location,
>etc. of your farm. Although the name of the tab is Farm, I refer to it as
>the Farm screen (ex: Enter the name of the farm owner on the Farm screen).
>Marketing says that should be the Farm tab (ex: Enter the name of the farm
>owner on the Farm tab).
>Need words of wisdom and advice. Thanks in advance.
>From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000==