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;
- it happens because 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 Q/A linguistic tester or... in plain words an “e-terminologist”!
- The e-terminologist is the one in charge to use a terminology that can be understood by the users.
- The e-terminologist knows the end-user perfectly well.
- The e-terminologist knows the topic and the mission of the website.
- The e- terminologist knows technical standards: the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).
- The e- terminologist 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).