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Subject:Re: Fields vs. Boxes, Options, etc. From:Jim Shaeffer <jims -at- SPSI -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 25 Jun 1999 08:46:46 -0400
One general guideline that I have gleaned from the Microsoft Manual of Style
is to avoid words like button, field, check box, etc. For example, instead
of saying "Click the Open button to work on an existing document" say
"Click Open to work on an existing document." Or instead of saying "In the
Name Field, type your name." Say, "In Name, type your name." In most cases,
the user has no reason to care if the tool is a button, a field, a widget or
a frou-frou. (This approach also requires that the interface be clear and
As Chuck alluded to, some audiences (programmers, designers and such) need
to distinguish the types of tools and elements of the interface in a more
technically precise manner (and, as Kathleen indicated, the terms to be used
vary from one interface to another).
Personally, I disobey the Microsoft Manual of Style when I decide I should,
but (1) it's a place to start and (2) I try to stay aware of my deviations
and the reasons for them.