Take the 2-minute tour ×
Writers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for authors, editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am writing a tutorial on how to use a specific web application and I don't know which verbs to use. Shall I use "click" for buttons? But what if the user doesn't use a mouse? Contrary to "normal" applications, web applications can be visited by many different clients, e.g. PCs, Smartphones with Touchscreens, Voice Recognition Software... But the verb "select" fits better for radio buttons and check boxes in my opinion and would not be best for buttons.

Also how should I emphasize different elements such as button names, radio button or text field labels, strings to type in from the user, select entries...is there a guideline anywhere?

share|improve this question
2  
The "typography" section of your question would be better answered at Graphic Design SE. Actually they could probably answer the first part as well. –  Lauren Ipsum Aug 14 '12 at 11:33
    
Ah thank you I didn't know a graphic design SE existed, I will ask the second part there! –  Konrad Höffner Aug 14 '12 at 12:20
    
After taking a look at the Graphic Design SE I am not sure it is the right place, however. It seems to be more concerned with image manipulation and less about typography and vocabularies. –  Konrad Höffner Aug 14 '12 at 12:26
    
I swear either Writers or GD answered the "click/tap" question already, but I searched both and can't find it. –  Lauren Ipsum Aug 14 '12 at 14:50
    
"Select" also means to "identify" some blob of content (text on a page, files in a file browser, etc), usually as a precursor to a cut, copy, or delete operation. So I definitely wouldn't use that with a link; if I "select" a link I probably want to saves its URL to the clipboard, not to click. –  Monica Cellio Aug 14 '12 at 16:08

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

"Click" is pretty standard in my experience.

As far as the typography, my personal preference is to use bold for anything you want the user to click on or select (button names, etc.) and italics for names of screens or windows. It calls the most attention to the items you want the reader to actually do something with.

Microsoft does have a style guide, The Microsoft Manual of Style, which provides a lot more detail.

The most important thing is to be consistent throughout the document, and make sure it's consistent with other similar documents produced by your company or organization. I'd recommend either using a style guide or creating your own.

share|improve this answer

I think you can use "click" with relative impunity. Even someone on a tablet or smartphone knows that "click" equates to "tap" with a touch interface. If you really feel strongly about it, you can say "Click or tap" or "Click/tap," but ask around to make sure it doesn't sound clunky.

I agree that "select" is the right word for "choose one or more of these options," not for "interact with this button."

share|improve this answer
    
Re: "click" and "tap" - If the tutorial site has a separate mobile site, there should be no problem. –  Neil Fein Aug 15 '12 at 0:35
    
"Tap or click to select the desired app." < Straight from Windows 8 Developer Preview help center. –  Mussri Aug 27 '12 at 22:34

If it is a button, then press is still appropriate, as is click or tap. It can be handy to have multiple synonyms for something, and press works as well, or perhaps even better, for a touch interface than it does for a mouse interface.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.