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The Importance Of Interface Text (part 1)

The words that a user sees on your application's menus and labelsare often as important as the code that drives the application. Using thewrong word, or a term that is ambiguous or hard to understand, can oftenmake the difference between an application that is easy and fun to use, andone that is just plain irritating. This article discusses the importance ofinterface text and offers tips and advice to help you create clear, usableand easily comprehensible text for your application's user interface.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. The Importance Of Interface Text (part 1)
  2. Form Versus Function
  3. The First Date
  4. Cheat Sheet
  5. Matching It All Up
By: Deepa L, (c) Melonfire
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 6
March 19, 2003

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A huge part of your application's success lies in how far it succeeds in making your users feel "I think I know what to do with this thing." And since you are, after all, developing an application around their needs, making sure the flow is built around a process they are already familiar with, it would be easy to assume that they would take to the application naturally.

Easy, but not correct.

Users approach any new tool with trepidation because it is, in essence, a whole new way of working. While you, as a developer, are looking at the application as a compilation of functions that they already know how to perform, the users look at it as a combination of screens that they know nothing about. The only thing that can bridge the gap between what they know and what they see is familiarity, and the easiest medium to make them familiar with the application is via the words they see on the application's user interface. Interface text, in other words.

 
 
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