Sunday, October 26, 2008

Euphemistically Speaking

A quick rant: I know a couple who don't let their daughter say "What the heck?" or even "What the...?" because "you know what you're really saying is the H word." So... exclamations such as "My goodness," and so on would also be bad because they're euphemisms for "My God," am I right? What is the poor kid left with to express herself? It's not the words so much as the context they are used in that betray the euphemism. If she says "Oh my tarantula," it either makes her sound insane or like she's really stretching for a euphemism, which in fact she would be, and thus fooling no one.

So, for UI text, how bad is it for a UI designer (and I mean writers too) to use one term when both you know and I know that you're really talking about something else? Well, it just makes you sound lke a kid trying to swear without saying the H word.

Why make users stretch their brains to suss out the meaning of a term when a simple one will do?

Bentley's First Law of Label Nomenclature: Think first.

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