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Subject:Re: Fields vs. Boxes, Options, etc. From:Chuck <writer -at- BEST -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 24 Jun 1999 13:39:25 -0700
Why the debate? You need to have a doggone good reason to violate the
established guidelines. Not only does the Microsoft Manual of Style
define how things should be referred to, it also points out what terms
are considered jargon that should not be used for certain audiences. By
adhering to the style guide, you will present users of your Windows
applications with terms that they will likely be familiar with if they
are familiar with other Windows applcications.
Some people and some companies are so virulently anti-Microsoft that
they design and describe their interface with the explicit goal of doing
everything *not* as Microsoft does. That attitude generally hurts the
There can be good reasons for violating the guidelines. But those
reasons are rare, and generally serve specific purposes for specific
From a more technical standpoint, "fields" is a jargon carryover
primarily from text-based interfaces, such as with mainframe or DOS
systems. The terminology delineated in the Microsoft Manual of Style
differentiates in a consistent manner the different types of UI gizmos,
and those distinctions, used consistently both within an application and
between applications, are important to keep software easy to use and
Shannon O'Brien wrote:
> Hi everyone:
> I was wondering what the consensus is on referring to specific parts of
> dialog boxes as fields rather than the names specified in the Microsoft
> Manual of Style.
> For example:
> Click to select the Hidden Text field vs. Click to select the Hidden Text
> check box.
> Type your name in the User ID field vs. Type your name in the User ID text
> Any suggestions or comments? We've been debating this issue here and I
> would appreciate any feedback.
"[Programmers] cannot successfully be asked to design for users
because...inevitably, they will make judgments based on the
difficult of coding and not on the user's real needs."
- Alan Cooper
"About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design"