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Terminology

Here's a list of common UI terms and their usage.

Add: (v.) Use to describe adding an existing item to an existing list, group, view, or other container element.

  • Opposite: Remove
  • Notes: If the object being added is not readily apparent from the context, consider adding a noun (like “Add user”). If you’re creating a new object, do not use Add. See Create.

Cancel: (v.) Use to describe ending an action in progress or ending an action where changes could be lost (like in a form).

Change: Do not use. See Edit.

Close: (v.) Use to describe shutting an open window (like a message dialog).

  • Opposite: Open
  • Notes: Do not use interchangeably with Cancel or Quit.

Collapse: (v.) Use to describe minimizing a container element (like a list or message) so that it’s partially visible.

  • Opposite: Expand

Continue: (v.) Use to describe proceeding with an action or process that is in progress.

Create: (v.) Use to describe creating something new.

  • Opposite: Delete
  • Notes: If the object being created is not readily apparent from the context, consider adding a noun (like “Create user”). New or Add are not recommended for this use case. See Add for usage guidelines.

Delete: (v.) Use to describe completely removing an object. Delete is a destructive action.

  • Opposite: Create
  • Notes: Erase and Remove are not recommended for this use case. See Remove for usage guidelines.

Deselect: (v.) Use to prompt the user to deselect an item from a list, group, view, or other container element.

  • Opposite: Select

Edit: (v.) Use to describe making changes to an object (like a file, configuration, or policy).

  • Notes: Modify and Change are not recommended for this use case.

Expand: (v.) Use to describe expanding a container element (like a list or message) to show all its contents.

  • Opposite: Collapse

Hide: (v.) Use to describe hiding something that is displayed in the interface.

  • Opposite: Show

Log in: (v.) Use to describe logging in.

  • Opposite: Log out
  • Notes: Use “log in to,” not “log into.”

Login: (adj.) Use to describe something related to the act of logging in to an application, like a login page.

  • Notes: The noun Login can also be used as an alternative for Username, but Username is recommended.

Log out: (v.) Use to describe logging out.

  • Opposite: Log in

Modify: Do not use. See Edit.

New: Do not use. See Add or Create.

Open: (v.) Use to describe launching something (like system preferences).

  • Opposite: Close

Quit: (v.) Use to describe exiting an application.

Remove: (v.) Use to describe removing an item from a list, group, view, or other container element without completely deleting it. Also see Add and Delete.

  • Opposite: Add
  • Notes: If what you’re removing is not readily apparent from the context, consider adding a noun (like “Remove file”).

Select: (v.) Use to prompt the user to select an item from a list, group, view, or other container element.

  • Opposite: Deselect
  • Notes: Do not use Choose for this use case.

Set up: (v.) Use to describe setting up an arrangement (like a system, process, or environment).

  • Notes: Set up is two words as a verb and one word as a noun. See Setup.

Setup: (n.) Use to describe the setup of something (like a system, process, or environment).

  • Notes: Setup is one word as a noun and two words as a verb. See Set up.

Show: (v.) Use to describe displaying something that is hidden in the interface.

  • Opposite: Hide
  • Notes: Do not use interchangeably with View or Expand.

View: (v.) Use to describe accessing another page to see details. (n.) Use to represent an arrangement of data in the interface (like a list view).

Notes: Do not use interchangeably with Show or Expand.

Username: (n.) Usually a unique ID (like ssmith123).

Utilize: Do not use. Opt for the less formal version, Use.

Abbreviations and acronyms

Use abbreviations that users are familiar with, and write out uncommon abbreviations. Abbreviate units of measurement, and use abbreviations consistently.

AbbreviationUsage
CSSStands for Cascading Style Sheets. Write CSS in all caps.
e.g., i.e., and etc.Use sparingly. These terms aren’t easily understood by everyone, especially users whose native language is not rooted in Latin. Write out their meaning instead:
  • e.g. – for example
  • i.e. – in other words
  • etc. – and more/so on
HTMLStands for Hypertext Markup Language. Write HTML in all caps.
JSStands for JavaScript. Write JS in all caps.
K8Stands for Kubernetes.
KVMRefers to a kernel-based virtual machine. Write KVM in all caps.
sysadminAvoid using abbreviations like sysadmin and SysAdmin because they’re too informal and not always easily understood. System should be singular (not Systems administrator) because it can include both a single system and multiple systems, similar to brain surgeon, who works on more than one brain. Taken from Red Hat Corporate Style Guide.
U.S.As a noun, use United States unless there are space constraints. As an adjective, use U.S. (for example, U.S. soldier). As part of an organization, use U.S. Taken from Red Hat Corporate Style Guide.
URLStands for Uniform Resource Locator. Write URL in all caps.
VMRefers to a virtual machine. OK to abbreviate as long as you've spelled it out once in the first occurrence and as long as VM won't be confused with other terms that share that acronym. Taken from Red Hat Corporate Style Guide.
N/ARefers to data not available. Applies to tables, list views, card views, and more.
-- Refers to data not applicable, meaning data will never be available for the object (unlike N/A).