In the information systems used by different kinds of users in different kinds of activities, usability is constantly present. Usability becomes an issue when users encounter problems that often culminate in terminological questions.
Terminology is a critical part of the user experience (UX)
One irony of graphical user interfaces (GUI) is that most aren’t very graphical: they contain a lot of text!
- The labels for commands in menus or on buttons are mostly text.
- Instructions are almost always text.
- Most user input consists of typing or selecting words and numbers.
- The labels on most controls and form fields are text.
- The names users assign to data files and other data objects are always textual.
- Error and warning messages are mainly textual, even if highlighted with a color or a symbol.
There are two different reasons why terminology is not consistent in websites.
- The use of the same term for different things is usually not intentional.
- Developers don’t think about it.
That’s why there is an increasing need for someone who can check that terminology is consistent and this person is a Terminology Manager.
- A Terminology Manager is the one in charge to use a terminology that can be understood by the users.
- A Terminology Manager knows the end-user perfectly well.
- A Terminology Manager knows the topic and the mission of the website.
- A Terminology Manager knows technical standards: the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) and the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
- A Terminology Manager knows that standard terms and their definitions are given in platform style guides, such as the ones for Windows [Microsoft Corp., 2006], Macintosh [Apple Computer, 2006], and Java [Sun Microsystems, 2001] and the -standard User interface (UI) vocabulary for target platform (Microsoft Language Portal).