Documentation - do we "Click", "Push", "Press" or "Select" a button on a touch-screen interface

  • I'm writing some documentation for a web-based application that will run on Android tablets at the factory at which I am employed.

    I am having trouble wording the steps where the users must interact with the onscreen buttons via touch.

    For example "1. Enter or scan your clock number and then"... "click the button", "press the button"?

    Click sounds most natural to me, but it still doesn't "feel" right.

    Is the word "click" ubiquitous while explaining interaction with an onscreen button regardless of if there is a mouse involved?

    Usually buttons on a touch screen are designed to look like a real button, even being animated in such a way that it looks depressed when we touch it, so perhaps press would also be appropriate?

    There's probably no right answer to this question. Can't you go with something like "validate", that would be neutral ?

    "Tap" is also another option.

    We rather "tap". Well from the options given, "press" is most suitable.

  • DA01

    DA01 Correct answer

    7 years ago

    There's no 'right' answer here. What is more important is that you are consistent within your own documentation.

    Regarding touch interfaces, the typical interaction is 'tap'.

    Regarding desktops, the typical interaction is 'click'.

    In both cases, it's not the ONLY interaction, however, as both touch devices and desktops can be navigated in other ways (such as via the keyboard).

    Personally, I prefer a more generic term such as 'select' that can be used agnostically across devices--though some have pointed out that 'select' is often reserved specifically for selecting an option.

    Additionaly, please note that, tap and touch are different things. To tap, you have to remove your finger from the screen after touching it.

    Surely the 'right' answer is the terminology the OP decides to use?

    @user43251 only to the OP.

    @DA01 Obviously not; he agrees with you it seems.

    @user43251 point being there is no right answer that is universal here. SE is a site where answers, ideally, are applicable in general, not specific to the individual. I suppose the universal answer in this situation is "use whatever your team wants to use, but be consistent"

    Yes, this was chosen as the answer because of the "consistent" clause. I went with "tap", and I think it works nicely. That word was escaping me entirely when I posted this question, else I may not have even asked it.

    Cool. Just ironic that the right answer claims there's no right answer.

    @user43251 ha! True. I suppose 'there is no right answer' *can* be the 'right answer'. :) Great. Just great. A paradox before I've even had my morning coffee...

    @user43251 Haha! I guess I didn't look at it that way!

    Also there's the conflict of "tap" and "long-press" in the mobile context. You press a button when you tap it, but you don't long-tap it when you "long press" it. The problem may be that tapping feels more touch-enabled than "lightly and quickly press to tap". Maybe press would be more accurate, since you click or press a button with a mouse (because you the mouse button makes "click"), but you denfinitely don't click a touchable interface unless you're using a mouse to control the device. so a tap is a click on a touchscreen. 1/2

    Press seems to be applicable to both of them. But select is definitely wrong here. Because you don't long-tap, for consistencies sake, I'd choose press for all actions. That would even help with touchscreen enabled desktop pc's when you don't want to click on the mouse to click the button 2/2

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM