User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My app uses a tab bar controller. In the user documentation, I'm not sure what name to use for a view that lives under a tab.

For example, the app has a Settings tab. In the user documentation, I have a sentence that goes something like this:

This threshold can be adjusted in the Settings tab.

"Settings tab" is not terribly user-friendly. What would be a better term than "tab"? I've looked though Apple's Human Interface Guideline, but I can't find what would be the official user-friendly term for "view that lives under a tab".

share|improve this question

migrated from Mar 22 '12 at 13:27

This question came from our site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development.

You mean it's got a little tab bar at the bottom like most apps, and the settings page is directly accessible from that bottom tab bar? – Ben Brocka Mar 22 '12 at 13:29
@Emile In this UX.SE site you can add Balsamiq wireframe images into questions - if you want to try that out this is a good method to use to illustrate your dilemma. – JonW Mar 22 '12 at 13:32
Are the tab titles always visible and obvious? If so, you could just call it "Settings" – Karen Mar 22 '12 at 13:54
@BenBrocka : Yes, the settings page is directly accessible from the bottom tab bar. – Emile Cormier Mar 22 '12 at 17:23
up vote 6 down vote accepted

There is nothing wrong with calling a tabbed page a "something"-Tab. It's a commonly accepted term and been in use for a long time. If however you are really bothered by it, you could use the word page, but that can be a little less informative as the page paradigm doesn't really fit with a tabbed GUI.

You might consider how you phrase your sentence. Instead of saying "This threshold can be adjusted in the Settings tab", your might instead give an itemized set of instructions. For example:

  1. Go to the xxxxx screen
  2. Select the Settings Tab
  3. Adjust the yyyyy threshold

Or you might simply extend your sentence to make it more informative:

The yyyyy threshold can be adjusted in the xxxxx screen, under the Settings tab.

share|improve this answer
"under the Settings tab" sure sounds much better than "in the Settings tab". To me, a tab is the thing that pokes out of the page/pane/whatever (like the tab of a real-life paper file). – Emile Cormier Mar 22 '12 at 6:20
Please note that for the iPhone, selecting a tab is the same as going to a screen (i.e. the view associated with a tab fills out the entire screen). – Emile Cormier Mar 22 '12 at 6:25
@EmileCormier The iPhone seems to break the usual "tabbed" interface paradigm somewhat, as on such a small screen, a tabbed display doesn't really work. The combination of screen selector buttons, screens, and back buttons isn't really "tabs" as such, which is I suppose why you are finding the syntax broken in this case. Perhaps for iPhone you would say "in the settings screen" in order to have it make more sense, and I think the concept should carry through for an iPad compatible app also. – S.Robins Mar 22 '12 at 7:16

I guess you could call it a pane? Although it is possible that one would expect multiple panes to exist when you use that term.

share|improve this answer
Although the joke was a bit flaky. It doesn't make the answer invalid. Or if you feel it did, putting your reason here would be nice. – Michael Brown Mar 22 '12 at 16:10
Another concern is that it could cause confusion when spoken. "Dr. I have this pane when I go to my settings tab." "Well I'd suggest you not go to the settings tab anymore." – Michael Brown Mar 22 '12 at 18:07
Good idea fixed :) – Michael Brown Mar 22 '12 at 18:07

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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