Tell Users to Select, Not to Click or Tap

GreenCheckMarkIn our mobile first world, where we’re first developing sites, applications, and user assistance for mobile devices, telling users to select something is probably a better choice than telling them to click. Since more and more people are navigating with their fingers (on all kinds of devices), they’re generally selecting something rather than clicking something with the mouse.

Is Select Ambiguous or Inclusive?

Select is inclusive, and yes maybe a bit ambiguous, of all the methods users might use to…well, select something. There might be a click or clicking noise involved, but we as developers don’t know what device the user might be using, or what some upgrade might do to its behavior vis-a-vis a click. And we don’t know if they have clicking/selecting noises turned on.

Users may be selecting something in a drop-down menu, a radio button, a check box, or a date in a calendar widget.

Click on, Click off

If you’re still telling users to click something, my preferred construction is to write click without the on. So, I never write Click on the icon. Just say Click the icon. Users know what this means. And it saves an unnecessary word. Of course there are exceptions. And if you’ve read the above, you’ll undoubtedly say Select …

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