4

I'm working on an application. Sometimes, when performing certain tasks, something fires an "alert" (a message that something went wrong). The app notifies this and also gives the possibility to request this alert to be closed (they are not simple notifications, they need to be examined and then closed)

I need the call-to-action to be short and concise. It cannot say "Close alert" because that implies that the action takes effect instantly, and that's not the case. The user must make a request, and after some processes complete, the alert is effectively closed. When the user makes this request, they will see the alert's status change from "open" to "closing"

These are the options I've been given and none of them sound right to me:

  • Request closing
  • Closing request
  • Close request

English is not my native language and they all sound weird to me. In Spanish, call-to-actions are in infinitive ("Cerrar alerta", "Aceptar", "Cancelar", etc) while in English they seem to be imperative ("Publish", "Try it", etc.)

Thanks for your time.

5
  • 2
    ux.stackexchange.com might be a better community for this question Nov 15, 2017 at 7:14
  • 1
    @JustinLardinois - Yes it would work there, but it also works here. ell.stackexchange.com would also work. It depends on what aspect OP wants to focus on.
    – AndyT
    Nov 15, 2017 at 9:42
  • I think this is the right place. This is a completely linguistic issue in my opinion.
    – Nahuel
    Nov 15, 2017 at 18:28
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because our Help Center specifically states that choosing names for software things is beyond our scope. We are about the English language here, not about programming. Consider posting UX questions to our sister site, User Experience.
    – tchrist
    Aug 19, 2018 at 14:36
  • I still think this is about English and semantics and not entirely about UX. Feel free to close the question if it violates the rules in the help center, though. I've resolved this issue with the answers given. Thanks!
    – Nahuel
    Aug 20, 2018 at 15:13

4 Answers 4

8

TL;DR - Use Request closure.


You're correct that it should be in the imperative. But you need to be careful, because "request" is both the imperative form of "to request" and a noun (meaning "something that is requested").

Let's look at your suggestions.

Close request

This sounds like "Close" is the verb, in the imperative form, and request is the noun. If I click on a button like this, I would expect a request to be closed.

It could also be interpreted as "close" being an adjective, describing the noun "request", and it would mean "[Create a] Close request". This works for what you want, but I think this interpretation is unlikely. And you should try to avoid ambiguity if possible, and make sure there is only one interpretation.

Closing request

Again "request" here is going to be interpreted as a noun. "Closing" could be a verb, in which case I could imagine seeing this on screen while the computer is doing something, i.e. "The program is currently closing the requests, please wait". This doesn't work for a button.

Alternatively "closing" could be an adjective, meaning "final". You might end a speech saying "My closing request is that you all consider saving water next time you have a shower". This wouldn't make much sense on a button.

Request closing

Interpretation 1 is that "request" is a noun, and "closing" is a verb, and it would mean "The request is currently closing". This would be a message on screen while the computer was doing something. This interpretation makes no sense on a button.

So, we're left with interpreting "request" as a verb, in the imperative form. But the verb needs to act on a noun, and "closing" doesn't work very well here. The "proper" noun version of close is "closure".

So I recommend "Request closure" for your button.

1
  • This is great. Thanks! I like how "Request closure" sounds.
    – Nahuel
    Nov 14, 2017 at 14:53
6

Dismiss is often used in this context:

Dismiss

  1. To put off or away, especially from consideration; put aside; reject. - OLD.

Putting something off, casting it away (out of sight etc.) is exactly the kind of meaning you are seeking from your question I would say, because the user can dismiss the message, while it is pending closing proper by the process you mentioned.

Here is an example of the word being used in a similar context to how you mention:

Ionic Framework

After an alert has been dismissed, the app may need to also transition to another page depending on the handler's logic.

So you could use the phrase:

Dismiss alert

1
  • 1
    That's good advice, thanks! However, (it seems to me) it doesn't reflect two facts: 1.- Alerts are not dismissed, they are closed (as in evaluated, solved and closed). 2.- The user doesn't decide this, they need to request the alert to be closed, the CTA needs to reflect this.
    – Nahuel
    Nov 14, 2017 at 14:06
4

While "Request closure" is short, it's not an expression usually encountered on software user interfaces.

It's also quite abstract and it doesn't explain the entire behavior very well: - It doesn't tell users when the closure is supposed to happen. - It doesn't reveal to whom is the request made. - In software, requests are usually understood as fallible. They lack the meaning of a guaranteed action or behavior; they can be denied, rejected or can result in an error.

Instead, you could find the following used more frequently to denote the scenario you are describing:

  • Buttons that say "Close when done" or "Close after completion".
  • Checkboxes that say "Close the alert when the operation completes" or "Close the alert after completion".

They describe and place the focus on the desired behavior, rather than on the user's action. They offer imperative and explicit instructions as to what the system should do and when.

You can combine these with a simple "Close" button that only appears after the operation is completed and the user has not selected the option to automatically close the alert at that point.

3
  • 1
    This appears to me to not be an answer from the standpoint of the English language, but more from the standpoint of user experience. It would be appropriate if the user had posted this question on ux.stackexchange.com (where I think it would be a bad answer, but that's irrelevant here), but I don't think this answer is appropriate here.
    – AndyT
    Nov 15, 2017 at 9:39
  • 1
    English language, like any language, should be used in a context-aware manner. Taking specifics into account is, in my opinion, a prerequisite of any suggestion regarding the use of language. You might be right from a UX perspective, if the users find the version I proposed more confusing or more difficult to operate. My answer is informed by personal experience, not by an actual user test, which could be a better way to decide what works best for the specific interface OP is asking about.
    – luvieere
    Nov 15, 2017 at 10:01
  • 1
    I see your point, but I still stand by my point. I'll try and explain it another way. The OP has asked "I want concise words to mean {this}. I have come up with {these options}. Do they mean what I want them to, or should I use something else?" Your answer appears to be "You're making a mistake. You don't need concise words that mean {this}, you should use verbose words which mean {that}. You should do this because of user experience reasons. While an "X and Y" answer like this is welcomed on stackoverflow, I don't feel it is appropriate here on ELU.
    – AndyT
    Nov 15, 2017 at 10:08
2

Depending on the types of alerts your system generates "Request resolution" might be a better phrasing of this. It would really depend on if the focus is solving the problem that led to the alert or getting the alert closed.

For example if the alert was "Building is on fire" the system operator would be more concerned with resolving the request (call fire department or put out the fire) than getting the alert closed (turning off the fire alarm) so any variation of "Close Request" may confuse the user as their focus will be the problem itself not closing the request.

1
  • 1
    Good point. Originally it said "Request resolve". The client asked for it to be changed to say "close" instead of "resolve" because that's the language they use (similar to github, where issues are closed. This means they have resolved the problem and closed the alert/issue)
    – Nahuel
    Nov 14, 2017 at 18:31

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