Terminology: import-export or upload-download

18 Mar 2008 - 2:00pm
6 years ago
11 replies
2852 reads
Elizabeth Buie
2004

Mona Singh writes:

>Has anyone done any user studies on the use of terminology like
>import-export or upload-download. Is one of the options more natural for
>users?

As I have always used them they mean different things, so both are appropriate in their contexts.

Upload/Download refers to location -- e.g., you upload to a web site and download to your laptop.

Import/Export refers to format -- e.g., you export from Word to RTF, or you import a CSV file into Excel.

Elizabeth

Comments

18 Mar 2008 - 3:00pm
Ari
2006

if this were 20 yrs ago when computing was still voodoo for a great many (c.
8% penetration in the home), i'd say go for it but terms like
upload/download and import/export are more or less part of modern vernacular
- for ex: upload and download are now found in many dictionaries.

because of this, you should avoid trying to define or create new metaphors
for terms that the vast majority of people actually understand.

just my 2 cents...

On 3/18/08, Mona Singh <mona.singh at channeladvisor.com> wrote:
>
>
> Has anyone done any user studies on the use of terminology like
> import-export or upload-download. Is one of the options more natural for
> users?
>
> Thanks,
> Mona
> ________________________________________________________________
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18 Mar 2008 - 4:08pm
Shaun Bergmann
2007

Personally, my own worst experience using a product was a touch panel design
platform. Once you had created the interface on your PC or Laptop,
connected to the remote touchpanel, the system would prompt you with:

"Download to Device?" yes / no

If, however, you wanted to grab the existing touchpanel file off of the
device and save it on your PC, the prompt was:

"Upload from Device?" yes / no

(I was never entirely sure what direction the file transfer was about to go)

As for Import/Export vs. Upload/Download;
Import / Export makes sense if one is 'taking and putting' locally in the
same area (two files on one laptop for example) whereas Upload / Download
would refer to working locally and connecting to something more remote.

On Tue, Mar 18, 2008 at 1:00 PM, Ari Feldman <ari1970 at gmail.com> wrote:

> if this were 20 yrs ago when computing was still voodoo for a great many
> (c.
> 8% penetration in the home), i'd say go for it but terms like
> upload/download and import/export are more or less part of modern
> vernacular
> - for ex: upload and download are now found in many dictionaries.
>
>
> because of this, you should avoid trying to define or create new metaphors
> for terms that the vast majority of people actually understand.
>
>
> just my 2 cents...
>
> On 3/18/08, Mona Singh <mona.singh at channeladvisor.com> wrote:
> >
> >
> > Has anyone done any user studies on the use of terminology like
> > import-export or upload-download. Is one of the options more natural for
> > users?
> >
> > Thanks,
> > Mona
> > ________________________________________________________________
> > Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> > To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> > Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> > List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> > List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
> >
>
>
>
> --
> --------------------------------------------------
> www.flyingyogi.com
> --------------------------------------------------
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

18 Mar 2008 - 7:17pm
Leandro Alves
2008

Well, I agree with Elizabeth, but I think that download/upload is best
used when relative to storing data. For example, when you send a vcard
file to a online address book service, you're "uploading a file",
but the best term (for me, at least) is "importing a contact".

But, I think a user study to confirm this. It's simple and fast. :)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27285

19 Mar 2008 - 11:06am
Calvin Park 박상빈
2007

IMO, unless the direction of transfer is unmistakably clear, I'd use
the word "transfer" instead of "up/download" or "im/export".

The latter two assumes directional references too much.

On Tue, 18 Mar 2008 17:17:06, Leandro Alves <lbalves at gmail.com> wrote:
> Well, I agree with Elizabeth, but I think that download/upload is best
> used when relative to storing data. For example, when you send a vcard
> file to a online address book service, you're "uploading a file",
> but the best term (for me, at least) is "importing a contact".
>
> But, I think a user study to confirm this. It's simple and fast. :)
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=27285
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

19 Mar 2008 - 11:16am
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Mar 19, 2008, at 12:06 PM, Calvin Park 박상빈 wrote:

> IMO, unless the direction of transfer is unmistakably clear, I'd use
> the word "transfer" instead of "up/download" or "im/export".
>
> The latter two assumes directional references too much.

That's a bad thing? If my web app allows you to export a file to your
local drive, take it another machine and then import it back into the
application, it's important to distinguish between those two actions.

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

If there's anything more annoying
than a machine that won't do what you want,
it's a machine that won't do what you want
and has been programmed to behave
as though it likes you.

- Don Norman

19 Mar 2008 - 11:37am
Elizabeth Buie
2004

Leandro Alves writes:

>Well, I agree with Elizabeth, but I think that download/upload is best
>used when relative to storing data.

Well, I didn't say anything that disagreed with that. :-)

My main point was that it's not a matter of choosing between import/export and
upload/download, because they have different meanings. My other statement (that
they're probably both OK) was kind of an aside, and I do agree that the specific
direction is not always clear.

Elizabeth

19 Mar 2008 - 12:50pm
Katie Albers
2005

On the whole I agree with Calvin, here...but what's wrong with using
"move"? It's simple and clear as long as you specify the to and from.
In fact, I think it's good discipline to remind ourselves that no
matter what we use, it is highly probable that our users do not have
the same knowledge base that allows them to infer the from and to
points of a move -- whatever terminology we use. A cautionary note:
If you know you have a substantial user base whose first language is
a romance language (French, Spanish, etc.) then "Transfer" -- being
Latin-based -- is likely to be more readily comprehensible to them.

Katie

At 9:06 AM -0700 3/19/08 Calvin_Park wrote:
>IMO, unless the direction of transfer is unmistakably clear, I'd use
>the word "transfer" instead of "up/download" or "im/export".
>
>The latter two assumes directional references too much.
>
>On Tue, 18 Mar 2008 17:17:06, Leandro Alves <lbalves at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Well, I agree with Elizabeth, but I think that download/upload is best
>> used when relative to storing data. For example, when you send a vcard
>> file to a online address book service, you're "uploading a file",
>> but the best term (for me, at least) is "importing a contact".
>>
> > But, I think a user study to confirm this. It's simple and fast. :)

--

----------------
Katie Albers
katie at firstthought.com

19 Mar 2008 - 1:29pm
Elizabeth Buie
2004

Katie Albers writes:

>On the whole I agree with Calvin, here...but what's wrong with using
>"move"?

Because upload and download, import and export, usually copy the item, rather than moving it.

Elizabeth

19 Mar 2008 - 1:51pm
Ari
2006

i disagree.

they typically mean 'transporting' an item - i.e. data transport or data
exchange.

this is not the same as a file system operation such as copy (which
duplicates an file) and move (which relocates a file).

On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 2:29 PM, Elizabeth Buie <ebuie at luminanze.com> wrote:

> Katie Albers writes:
>
> >On the whole I agree with Calvin, here...but what's wrong with using
> >"move"?
>
> Because upload and download, import and export, usually copy the item,
> rather than moving it.
>
> Elizabeth
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
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19 Mar 2008 - 2:44pm
Elizabeth Buie
2004

If I upload a file to my web site or a photo sharing site, it still exists on my computer.  If I download music to my iPod, it still exists on my computer.  If I download a software upgrade from Apple or Adobe, it is still on Apple's site or Adobe's site to be downloaded by others.

If I export an Excel spreadsheet to CSV format, it still exists in Excel.

In what context do you disagree?

Elizabeth

19 Mar 2008 - 2:59pm
Ari
2006

i misread what you wrote. thus, i was incorrect.

On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 3:44 PM, Elizabeth Buie <ebuie at luminanze.com> wrote:

> If I upload a file to my web site or a photo sharing site, it still exists
> on my computer. If I download music to my iPod, it still exists on my
> computer. If I download a software upgrade from Apple or Adobe, it is still
> on Apple's site or Adobe's site to be downloaded by others.
>
> If I export an Excel spreadsheet to CSV format, it still exists in Excel.
>
> In what context do you disagree?
>
> Elizabeth
>
> Ari Feldman wrote:
>
> i disagree.
>
> they typically mean 'transporting' an item - i.e. data transport or data
> exchange.
>
> this is not the same as a file system operation such as copy (which
> duplicates an file) and move (which relocates a file).
>
>
>
> On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 2:29 PM, Elizabeth Buie <ebuie at luminanze.com>
> wrote:
>
> Katie Albers writes:
>
> >On the whole I agree with Calvin, here...but what's wrong with using
> >"move"?
>
> Because upload and download, import and export, usually copy the item,
> rather than moving it.
>
> Elizabeth
>
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
>
>
> --
> --------------------------------------------------
> www.flyingyogi.com
> --------------------------------------------------
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

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www.flyingyogi.com
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