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Playing The Field - Practices

In this concluding article, read about the specific things to bekept in mind when creating interface text for menus, windows, buttons,fields and application messages, and also find out how to design interfacetext for easy internationalization of your application.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. The Importance Of Interface Text (part 2)
  2. Brass Tacks
  3. The Screening Process
  4. Playing The Field
  5. When Things Go Bad...
  6. Offering Instruction
  7. Better Safe Than Sorry
  8. Globe-trotting
By: Deepa L, (c) Melonfire
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 3
March 26, 2003

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The user has now reached the correct screen, safe in the knowledge that(s)he will be able to perform the intended task. The continuation of thisfeeling depends on how familiar the data requirements on the form seem.

A lot of this has to do with the structuring of the form - the bunchingtogether of parameters and the manner in which the interdependencies aredepicted. A lot also depends on how familiar the words sound to the user.Stick to using terms the user is familiar with, and you can't go wrong.

The main function of the field label is to indicate the data requirement ofthe field. This should be short, a maximum of three words (and even that'sstretching it!) If it takes you more than three words to explain what afield does, you need to reconsider the focus of that field.

Button labels need to indicate the "impending action" - that is, what theeffect of clicking them will be. Here's a list of the verbs used for mostof the common actions - most users are familiar with these and what theyrepresent:
  • Submit
  • OK
  • Cancel
  • Reset
  • Confirm
  • Save
  • Delete
  • Edit
The important thing, of course, is to use these appropriately andconsistently. It also impacts your screen design - design screens so thatif at one screen you need to "save" information, you do not need to shiftto "confirm" for another one.

 
 
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