I'm part of a technical documentation team where I'm suggesting the document designers different methods for graphical presentation. Each time I need to talk about a method I have to look around and dig into the search engines to find out the terms used for them. We have a UX designer who mostly can shed some light on some of them but when he's not around, the job falls onto myself.

Are there some guides which define different ways of graphical presentation methods in documentation or do I have to dig all of them up?

The last one I was trying to find was "popup zoom in" for which I'm still not convinced that it's the correct term.

  • 3
    You might also get good answers on Graphic Design SE graphicdesign.stackexchange.com May 7, 2015 at 15:29
  • 1
    I'm not even sure what you are asking about. Reading the beginning of your question, and considering the context of a site for writers, I thought "graphical presentation" referred to the layout and typography of text, or maybe tables and diagrams. Noe at the end I feel that this question is not about writing at all but about the technical terminology and might better be answered on a site for UI designers (just as you wouldn't probably find help here for medical or philosophical terms). Maybe you could clarify what we are actually talking about?
    – user5645
    May 7, 2015 at 16:19
  • 2
    So you're basically looking for standard vocabulary for communicating with designers about presentation of documentation elements, right? May 7, 2015 at 18:26
  • 1
    If you see yourself doing a lot of this in the future, it would be worth investing in a style manual. I prefer THE CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE. The documentation section is about 300 pages of edge-of-your-seat excitement, but it's definitely worth the money. Other guides are even more thorough if you want to teach your cohorts a course on grammar.
    – Stu W
    Nov 2, 2015 at 4:05
  • 1
    From your question, it seems likely that many people in the room can't recall the names or the presentation methods. You'll be a hero if you create a visual aid that shows each effect with a caption beneath it. When there aren't standard names, use a dominant vendor's name (e.g., AnythingZoomer), or one that's descriptive (e.g., floating square magnifier).
    – rolfedh
    Jan 7, 2016 at 3:15

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia has this short list of graphical elements for interfaces that use the prevailing WIMP paradigm.


According to the example you've provided above, I think what you have there is a

zoomable popup control


zoomable popup widget

Hope this helps! Personally I've never liked the word widget!

  • As Monica Cello did mention in her comment to my question, I'm looking for the nomenclature of presentation methods in "Documentation" rather than actual UI elements in software. I've already found the name for that particular example but still need to name some not-before used methods from time to time and still experience some feedback delay. I'm building up my own style guide brick-by-brick :)
    – Montag451
    Feb 11, 2016 at 14:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.