language matters in UI design

I’m easily confused, and all too often I construe the wrong meaning from something completely innocuous. The UI for Google’s new online aggregator (thanks Clarke for the link) is a case in point. I was trying out this new (to me) service today and I kept getting lost. Because there’s a menu-link labelled read items. It took the “read” part to mean “peruse”, and to be an imperative participle of the verb “to read”. Later I realised it could mean “consumed” – it could be the past participle of the same verb, being used as an adjective to identify those items I’ve already …er… read. The link might take me to a reader, or to an archive. I’m still not sure which it does. Ho hum.

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