TERMINOLOGY: TALK THE TALK Just 'cause you can walk the walk doesn't mean you can talk the talk. And other thing. You can't call everything a thingy.

Please let me explain. IF YOU CALL EVERYTHING A THINGY PEOPLE WON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT! A user who "walks the walk" might be a "power user" who knows how to get things done on his or her computer. However, a good trainer needs something more than just "knowing how to get things done" A good trainer must also "talk the talk" accurately and consistently... ALL THE TIME.

Teaching is Communication. Sounds obvious I know. But we often fail in our attempt to communicate when we "make up" words in an attempt to get our ideas across. Instead we must learn proper terminology for the many terms and concepts that we need to talk about, and we must and use it consistently. Most computer concepts are difficult enough for users to grasp without having to decipher technical terms, often used inconsistently by different people. If we want to be understood, we must adopt (and continually reinforce) standard language. There are too many words flying around that mean the same thing!

Asking a room full of experienced computer users to refer to the"Task Bar" or "Menu Bar" and seeing their eyeballs dart all over the screen in confusion because they have no idea of what's being asked, may seem amusing at first. It's actually frustrating. Here's a group of experienced computer users who can't even talk about about what's on their screens! The reason for this is they never learned the names of screen elements they continually use throughout the day! If the right language were used by professionals in training and support, the terms for these common items would necessarily become commonplace.

On top of the initial reason for the call, users who call a help desk often have a compounded problem: They can't properly form the question to ask for help. Nobody is born knowing the names of screen elements; they must be learned. Technology professionals need to "talk the talk", properly and consistently. The table that follows offers some common terms in first column.

Since terminology and standards are ever-changing I welcome any corrections or suggestions. I don't claim to be an authority! By helping each other we'll be able to communicate more effectively. Consequently, talking about this stuff will be less stressful!

Title Bar Blue bar at top of window Title Bar contains the name of the program and in some cases the name of the file currently open within that application program.
Menu, Menu Bar Words at top of window The list of command choices just below Title Bar.
Toolbar Speed Buttons, Icon Bar, Button Bar With few exceptions, this is the standard term for the item that usually runs across the top of a program's window, just below the Menu Bar. Some applications have several toolbars that can be displayed simultaneously.
(window) Borders edge, side A window's border is accessible only when window is in restored state.
Start Button Start Bar, Start Menu Clicking the Start Button displays the Start Menu.
Task Bar Start Bar, Status bar, The bar at bottom A list of active applications (tasks), usually displayed at the bottom of the screen in Windows.
Status Bar   A bar running across the bottom of an application program, displaying information about the document you are in and about the state of the program and certain features within that program.
Start (a program) Open Consistent with the Windows Start button. It's also good for students to understand that a program is loading into memory from a hard disk. 
Install (software) Load This way, load has only ONE meaning, not two. 
Exit (program) Close Consistent with File menu options.
Open (document, file) Retrieve Consistent with File menu options.
Close (document) Exit Consistent with File menu options.
Select Block, Highlight In several word processing programs, there's a feature called Highlight and it does not mean 'select'. I think 'block' (noun) adequately describes selected portion of a document. However, many years ago ,"block" was used as a verb by WordPerfect DOS users. This is no longer a standard term for this process of selecting text..
Press, Type, Hold, Tap Hit No hitting in class, please!
Click Hit, point and click, click the left mouse button, tap, etc Press and release the left mouse button with no movement of mouse.
Double-click Hit, Click twice, Click two times Two clicks within a given time period, with no movement of the mouse.
Drag Point and click and drag, Click and hold down and move mouse Press and hold left mouse button while moving the mouse. Usually this is followed by a drop. (i.e. drag & drop)
Right-click click the right mouse button Usually displays a context-menu, that is, a menu of relevant choices for the item(s) you've right-clicked on.
Special Drag Right-Drag, Drag with the right mouse button Drag mouse with right (secondary) mouse button. Usually, this yields options when dropping (releasing mouse button.)
Resize size, make bigger, etc...  Consistent with window control menu.
Maximize make bigger, enlarge Make program window cover the full screen.
Restore make smaller, shrink, resize Return a window to its last "windowed" size and position.
Restore?? click button on task bar to restore minimized program. Please suggest who this can be improved.
Minimize make smaller, shrink, exit, close Removes application window from screen yet application remains active in memory and visible on the Task Bar or System Tray.
Floppy, Floppy disc, Diskette Disk  (too general) A hard disk is also a valid disk. Many users think "disk" necessarily means a removable "floppy" disk. 
This table is only a partial list of commonly used terms. There are many more application-specific terms.

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