It is a very simple question, but it has been bothering me for quite some time: when creating an application, should the help menu (in the menu bar) be called "?" or "Help"?
I can see a few advantages for "?": it leaves some room to associate the character "H" to another menu (with Alt) and is quite easy to recognize. But I think there may be some other pros and cons in this choice.
What do you think?
NOTE: Some of the answers discuss about internationalization and shortcuts, thus about how
? may not exist in some languages. Since I am French, I will use that language as an example (sorry if you prefere your examples in Chinese). For the same reason, feel free to edit any mistake you find in my English.
- Alt+H works in English is also what we could have wanted for "History".
- Alt+A may work in French but we often see it for "Affichage" instead.
- The "Help" shortcut often has priority any other other menu that begins with the same letter. That means that the other menus shortcuts may change from one language to another even though the words are roughly the same (for example, "Historique" will be Alt+H in French while "History" will be Alt+I in English).
- Moreover, the locale half of the software I use is in English and the other half is in French, which may lead to some problems when I switch - more often than one would think -. When software uses
?, I don't really have to think about the language anymore.
However, as said, Alt shortcuts are often secondary and thus these points do not invalidate what was already said in the answers.
NOTE 2: For the sake of completeness, we could also add the answer we simply don't care since it is a "positional" menu (always the last in the menu bar) and, generally speaking, users will know where to find it without even having to ask.
NOTE 3: One last point which not appear in the answers but appeared in some comments, and I think it is interesting to have it highlighted here. Alt+Shift+/ may be quite long to type, but one generally does not care since the key F1 should be a shortcut to open the help (even though it sometimes opens the "About" dialog).