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UI elements

UI elements are the interactive parts of a product. They are used to build the software’s interface. When describing UI elements in writing, we focus on what users need to do without focusing on the UI.

To clarify instructions for complex interfaces, you may need to identify elements by name.

UI elementUsageExample
ButtonSelect Add a Site.
Blue button to add a site.
Checkboxes and radio buttonsTurn Set as Default DNS Location on.
Two checkboxes for setting DNS options.
CommandsGo to File, then select Delete.
Command options to edit or delete.
Error messageIf you receive the error message Invalid IP, start the process from the beginning.
Invalid IP address input.
MenuIn the menu, go to your account > Websites.
List of website options.
TabGo to Action.
Tabs with security event categories.
ToggleTurn AV inspection on.
Toggle to turn anti-virus inspection on.
Containers (windows, screens, pages, sections, and cards)Refer to your site’s traffic statistics for more information.
Information container with website statistics.

​​ Interactions

When describing navigation elements, such as menus, use go to instead of navigate. When describing elements you can activate, such as checkboxes and toggles, use turn on/turn off instead of enable/disable.

For information on physical inputs, such as mouse buttons, refer to Keyboard keys.

​​ Symbols in UI element names

​​ Icons or non-alphabetic characters

The names or labels on buttons and other UI elements may include icons or symbols. For example, a button named + Add element includes a plus sign. When writing these names or labels in procedures, do not include symbols. They are usually redundant and can be removed safely.

If an element has no text other than the symbol (for example, just +), you can keep the symbol in the instructions. This especially applies to instructions in interfaces for third-party products.

​​ Ellipses

An ellipsis is a set of three dots (...) that might be used as a variable or wildcard. For example, a Save As… menu item might display a dialog box where you can save a file in different places. If you refer to a menu item or button that has an ellipsis, do not include the ellipsis. In text, ellipses can be distracting.