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Sat, 30 Jul 2005 01:06:47 -0500
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Hal Shubin Wrote:

>I asked about book title capitalization vs 
>sentence capitalization. ...


I'm a little surprised that so far no one has pointed out the well-known
fact that users of computer screens don't generally read but skim.  So
what does it mean to skim? It means to Not read every word, but to look
for key words or phrases of special importance. This is true for blocks
of text and even more true for labels, headings, and the like.  So, it
seems a sound argument could be made for a model which gives more visual
prominence to the most Important words for the skimmer.  Initial Caps
could be seen as a convention like bolding, underlining, and other font
treatments for emphasis sake. This convention has in fact been used for
many years in places such as technical manuals where text and graphics
are combined in the same context. I would add that the more familiar the
user is with a particular screen, the less the user reads, to the point
of going straight to the familiar screen location for the information
needed.  In the case extreme familiarity, the label may function more as
a graphical marker than as a word or phrase at all. 

My real opinion is that it may not really matter that much which way you
do it.  The likelihood that some user will be unable to complete a task
because of it is far fetched.  But without a doubt, it is something that
people will pride themselves in noticing in your interface and bug you
about it, while no one will notice much more serious failures of
conceptual models and information architecture until after you deliver
(or usability test if you have the chance to do so).

Roger Belveal
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