Monday, July 23, 2007

Death to Acronyms

I've been a little quiet recently as I've been on holiday in gorgeous Ireland but I'm right back in the saddle now.

Today's topic is quite straight forward, avoid acronyms if at all possible.

(SPQR, acronym for the Roman empire is a contender for the earliest known acronym)

Its all too easy to have some expertise in an area and forget that the normal world doesn't know that WMPTE (pronounced wumpetty) stands for West Midlands Passenger Transport Executive so you stick it as a label somewhere in your Google Earth project and confuse all the Newbies. Of course some Acronyms are acceptable, you'd have to have been living on Mars not to know what BBC, NASA or FBI meant but most should be avoided at all costs.

You may think this is a little picky of me, its surely a very minor issue? Well yes, but good design is all about the details, an unexplained acronym is a 'trip' and it takes surprisingly few trips to lose your newbie user.

By the way, acronyms make wonderful passwords. If you are plagued by admins who insist you change your password frequently like I am a line from a song: 'Fifty ways to leave your lover' forms a a memorable and pretty much unguessable 50WTLYL (but do think of your own of course).

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