RE: Effective Arguments for Unique Control Names...?

Subject: RE: Effective Arguments for Unique Control Names...?
From: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2003 16:07:45 -0400

When you visit the interface design team, be willing to be educated on the
issues of designing an interface that users are willing and able to use.
It's best not to assume that your way is the best way, the only way or the
most important point of view to consider. And they have user experience to
go on.

I just can't see how documenting such controls would be any more difficult
than if they had different names, but as someone pointed out, it's very hard
to know without seeing the interface in question.

Connie P. Giordano
Senior Technical Writer
Advisor Technology Services
A Fidelity Investments Company
704-330-2069 (w)
704-330-2350 (f)
704-957-8450 (c)
connie -dot- giordano -at- fmr -dot- com

"Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, 'cause I'm afraid
that we've been cheated here on Earth" - Clint Black "Galaxy Song"

-----Original Message-----
From: pdenchfield -at- yahoo -dot- com [mailto:pdenchfield -at- yahoo -dot- com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2003 2:58 PM
Subject: Effective Arguments for Unique Control Names...?

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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