I am making a context diagram of a website and I noticed that the words I used for a user and the website's interaction are not consistent or cohesive.

I have been using the pairs of words below to indicate that a user requests to "see" a webpage:

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a user "visits" a website and the webpage "views" (as a response to the user)

I can't find a more acceptable alternative for these two but I am sure there are better ones out there that I just don't know.

One more, what should I use if the page that a user wants to see is a popup or specifically a modal element (which means a user is not directed away from their current page)?

  • 4
    A user that visits a website requests content, and the website (the server actually) serves the content that is requested. Content can be a page, or data on a page, or a file to download, or anything else.
    – oerkelens
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 14:22
  • @oerkelens, thank you, that's better! But how about if a "page" is a popup or modal? Is request/server still applicable? Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 14:23
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    Whatever data is served, is served. Whether that is visually formatted data (a webpage, a form, a pop-up) or raw data (web-page content data, an application file), it is still data that is served to the user.
    – oerkelens
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 14:25
  • 1
    The site pops or popups a window or dialog- if the user requested it, the user requested content and the page served it in a popup
    – mplungjan
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 15:05

4 Answers 4


A user views and inputs. A website displays and outputs. A modal pop-up is called a modal window.

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    Yes. Another way of looking at the "two-way" interaction is that the user requests information, and the website delivers it. Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 16:08
  • @FumbleFingers - Exactly. Would use those two terms if talking about the network stack or some form of mode/language (http). When I see user and website though I usually stick to something more basic. Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 15:30

"Request" and "response" are the nouns typically used in HTTP specifications and libraries. "Request" and "respond" are the corresponding verbs.


For a pop-up window you could say the user invokes it, then after interacting with it dismisses it.


My Microsoft Manual of Style says to use "pop-up window". The reference was not specific to webpages, but the context was similar to what you describe.

Here's some of the entry from page 359

Do not use as a noun. Also do not use as a verb to mean open or appear.
'Pop-up window' is all right to use in references to windows that pop up in context-sensitive Help. Do not use 'pop-up window' as a synonym for dialog box.

  • 2
    It's not really a verb, is it? You are suggesting the user "pop-up" window the website, and then the website "pop-up window" the user? Since the OP asks for words to put at the arrows :)
    – oerkelens
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 14:57
  • The second part of the question had not yet been answered. The comments about serving a page were excellent responses that needed nothing more. ;) I should have been more clear and complete. Microsoft is very clear that that is exactly what you should not do.
    – Val
    Commented Feb 27, 2014 at 15:21

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