Effective Arguments for Unique Control Names...?

Subject: Effective Arguments for Unique Control Names...?
From: pdenchfield -at- yahoo -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 12:58:22 -0600

Have any of you ever been in this situation?

The team that is responsible for designing the user interface assigned the
same name to two controls (I'll call the controls "C"). Based on their
experience training new users, this team doesn't see any issue with the
identical names because each "C" control is related to the trigger-control
to its left (I'll call them "A" and "B"), as illustrated below.

A ? C
B ? C

Because of the layout, the team believes users won't have a problem
figuring out which of the identically-named controls to select.

But from a user documentation perspective, identically-named controls can
present a problem. There's the context of the actual procedure and there's
the context of the table listing the control descriptions. Probably there
are other contexts I haven't yet considered. Or am I being too finicky?

I asked the user interface design team to append a number to the existing
control names to differentiate them. (Appending a number is the easiest
solution as space and localization need to be considered.) Their response
was lukewarm at best. I understand that the naming decision probably
involved a lot of people who don't want to see it change (another early
decision for which our department's input was not solicited, but that's
another discussion). But if there's a way to solve this problem before it
gets bigger, I'd like to do it.

I plan to visit the user interface design team and educate them on the
problems of identically-named controls when writing user documentation.
Suggestions, anyone?

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