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Her Royal Highness, The Tickybox

weather: 19.5
outside: mainly clear°C
mood: ...
Today was comical. One preference check box was causing confusion in Live. It affected the way some data was being fetched, so it had a big impact on performance depending on how it was used.

The label on the box was three giant sentences and written in the most confusing way with made-up technical buzzwords that made no sense to anyone. Users didn't understand it and people didn't use the option correctly... which was why we were receiving complaints about performance.

I'm asked what the label should say. I wasn't even supposed to get involved. I was asked so that my opinion could be officially ignored. =D =D It's okay, it happens all the time. And therein, I get sucked into a whole vortex of e-mail threads debating what the label on the box should be.

It was just so ridiculously much attention heaped onto one little goddamned box that made me think of the One Child policy in China. =) When there's a kid in the family, there are a whole pile of adults all fawning over the kid. Two parents and two sets of grandparents, makes at least six adults to one child.

Except, it involved development, QA, tech writers, managers and folks from the business side. It was all eyes on the Princess Tickybox.

This tickybox is going to grow up to be a spoiled rotten, brat-assed, selfish prick supreme of all tickyboxes. You mark my words. XD =D =D

Some random thoughts on labels and tickyboxes:

There is a difference between negating a verb and a word that has a negative connotation. I agree that it's generally good practice to avoiding verb negation, but it is absurd to refuse to say exactly what you mean just because the word has a negative connotation.

For that matter, if using a negated verb makes for a more clear and concise message, then DO IT. Style Guide be DAMNED.

NEVER say "click here to do X" unless user is actually supposed to click on the word "here". And even then, it's clumsy wording and usually not necessary. It's also inaccurate. The user doesn't have to click on a check box. They can press TAB in the dialogue until the focus is on the box and press then the spacebar. No clicking involved.

Instead, I'd use "select" and "clear" for check box actions.



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 24th, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
Do you want to do X(link) or Y(link)?

[ ] X(link)
[ ] Y(link)

It so comes down to reading comprehension, something that people just seem to forget/ignore...

It's not that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, it's that the old dogs are lazy and don't want to learn anything new. Unfortunately, I can't take the metaphorical old dogs and rub their noses in it. Maybe I should bring treats.
Aug. 26th, 2007 05:45 am (UTC)
In this case, it was only one box and it _wasn't_ a matter of reading comprehension. It really was horridly written.
Aug. 24th, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC)
Instead, I'd use "select" and "clear" for check box actions.

That's what we use. I had to look it up recently in our style guide when I was documenting a new checkbox feature. (And I think we do write checkbox as one word and have to keep doing it for translation consistency.)
Aug. 26th, 2007 05:47 am (UTC)
we do write checkbox as one word and have to keep doing it for translation consistency

I can totally see that.
Aug. 24th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
"Click here to whatever" breaks the internet under any circumstances.

"Read the instructions" doesn't make me want to kill people, and is in line with proper hypertext. I can sometimes accept linkage on the verb, but the whole phrase should likely be linked in that case...

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )


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