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Chapter 12. Text and Labels: Writing for... > Eliminate Superfluous Text

Eliminate Superfluous Text

Before the advent of the Web, superfluous words rarely appeared in application interfaces. As a rule, desktop applications, ATMs, cell phones, dashboards, and other interactive media have minimized labels and eliminated instructions wherever possible. In these mediums, there is the clear expectation that the user is trying to accomplish a task, so the most polite and prudent thing to do is keep the chatter down to a minimum.

Compared to other interactive mediums, the Web is considerably more text-based. However, the Web is also an interactive medium, and Web applications in particular are an interactive task-based medium. If the interface’s ultimate goal is to put the user in control, it must deliver a focused environment where users have everything they need and nothing they don’t. Providing this type of environment means putting the user’s needs first, and that means, among other things, eliminating extraneous text.


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