The idea of this post has been lingering in my mind for quite a long time. Having created documentation according to the Microsoft Manual of Style (MMoS) in the majority of my projects, I was puzzled a bit when I started investigating the Apple Style Guide. Not for the obvious reasons like structure differences, or depth of topics covered, or style of writing but for the small discrepancies like spelling or wording that were crucial nonetheless.
Having exclaimed “I need to write that down!” for the fifth time, I decided to make a side-by-side comparison of the guidelines proposed by both MMoS and Apple Style Guide.
Why would that be useful?
Imagine you are writing a User Guide for a Windows desktop application. While you’re happily finishing topic after topic, your Product Owner decides that the users need an iOS version of the app that should be accompanied with a separate help system. If you haven’t been writing anything Apple-related for at least half a year, you’re probably gonna roam through the Apple Style Guide trying to nitpick all the significant and subtle differences in style in addition to adapting the content to new flows and business logic.
So instead of checking the guide all the time and trying not to miss anything, you can simply read this cheat sheet. It describes the dissimilarities that occur in the guides rather than the common things.
This post will cover all the issues related to UI control names and user interactions.
Regarding the description of controls, MMoS suggests referring to a control only by its label (except for the identifiers box, list, check box, and tab), while Apple Style Guide is completely okay with using the words button, checkbox, and so on even in procedures.
Speaking of UI elements’ names, not only are there slight differences in capitalization and orthography but also we should remember the completely different wording in several cases.
Actions and gestures
Here is a list of actions and gestures that the Information Developers must use to explain how to interact with an app or device.
The next article will cover the peculiarities of user interface formatting and naming guidelines.