Because it’s easy to add words to an interface, there is always the temptation to try to talk your way out of a difficult problem. Like a discussion with a traffic cop, however, explanations and pleadings rarely alter the situation. Text can’t repair problems in more fundamental areas of the interface, although it can play an important role in supporting them. The critical issue is knowing when and where text can help and then knowing exactly which words will be most effective. You will get further along that path by keeping the following in mind:

  • Eliminate as much text as possible. Eliminate some more.

  • Be relevant and concise.

  • Select a vocabulary familiar to users.

Lest you find all the dos and don’ts a bit overwhelming, take comfort ...

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