We have an application that shows the routing history (for a workflow) of a document, as well as comments that a user might have made at any point of that documents workflow.
For example, a workflow might look like:

  • Person A approves a document
  • Person B receives the document
    • Person B adds a comment
    • Person B approves the document
  • Person C receives the document
    • Person C adds a comment
    • Person C declines the document

All this history appears in a single screen, instead of having the comments and history split out and making it harder to identify when an action or comment was added. Currently, our icon for this functionality looks like this:

This is fine for telling the user that this is where you get the History of the document, but is less intuitive for discovering it's also where you view comments of a document.
We're trying to find out another word that would describe "History" and "Comments", and are constrained in our word length to be no longer than about 11-12 characters. If an updated icon would help better convey that meaning as well, ideas are appreciated.
Any help would be appreciated.

  • Next time Google "word" synonyms, for now I down-vote your lack of interest in helping yourself. – Ivan Venediktov Oct 24 '16 at 16:57
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    Sorry if I came across that way @IvanVenediktov, but I did in fact do quite a lot of Googling. However, getting a list of synonyms for "history" doesn't help with the word "comment", and the other way around. Googling for words that indicate both "history" and "comments" similarly are not helpful. Google is not always the find all, sometimes it takes the help of other intelligent individuals who understand the problem fully. If it's so easy, to find it on Google, why don't you just send me a lmgtfy.com link :) – Andrew Oct 24 '16 at 17:01
  • Can't edit link text in the phone, sorry, but you should be able to open this two links, if not, feel free to ask on stackoverflow – Ivan Venediktov Oct 24 '16 at 17:06
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    Having spent hours wading through google search results before, I think there's a lot of value in being able to just ask an expert. – PhillipW Oct 24 '16 at 17:34

Depending on how formal/informal the app is, will help with your question. I would approach the problem from a few different angles:

  1. Traditional words. Archive, Records, Timeline, Chronicle, Flashback, Reflect. I would test out a few synonyms to see which has a more abstract/blurry definition that could possibly represent both parts of your dilemma. The more rigid the word is, the more restricted you will be. The more abstract, the more freedom. And depending on how many users utilise the feature, you could always try redefine what a word means to your app. Repetition and good branding always helps.
  2. Fun words. Creating a compound noun could be tricky (limited characters) but could solve the problem in an intuitive way. Eg.: Histomments/Archinotes. Although you will be a bit more limited here, you could breathe some creativity into your app using this method. I would definitely make sure to do a test run with these fun words, to see what your user thinks. But it could also give you an opportunity to send out greeting to your users introducing the new part of your app. This could also be a good time to add an additional feature to this section, or to highlight its strengths. Will help establish the feature better and you could ask for feedback. Nothing is permanent and I try to work in increments - if the new icon doesn't sit well with the users then you could always improve it later.
  3. Icons. Using an icon can really help define your feature more by adding another layer to the meaning of the button. This might seem obvious but you could play around by not using an obvious icon. The word could be "Archives" but the icon could include a speech bubble and a book, for instance. You could use a simple word for the 'history' part and then use an icon that fills in the other part of 'comments'. Together the word and icon can give a new definition of your Archinotes!

Some sketches:enter image description here

Hope that helps, good luck!

  • Perfect, thanks for some hints on direction to take! – Andrew Oct 31 '16 at 17:27

I would use log, logbook, or records. Log files typically record any event that occurs in a system. So these words imply that any event, whether it be approving, receiving, adding comments, etc. anything that happens to said document will be recorded in the log.

Best part is you won't even have to change your icon.


This activity seems to have the main purpose document exchanges (maybe download in the end) and I think the most intuitive expression is "Download history" or "Document transfers" / Transfers / Files Overview / Docs System.

  • There is no "download" functionality in this, it is simply viewing the documents history (where it has been) and the commends associated with it. Also, "Download History" is too long to use. – Andrew Oct 24 '16 at 14:26
  • @Andrew Sorry, it was a supposition. Transfers? – Madalina Taina Oct 24 '16 at 14:29
  • Remember that I need to keep the character count below 12. I want to stay away from "Download" since the user isn't downloading the history (at least that is not the primary use). "Transfers" also don't quite convey everything that is happening. The history is to view the approval chain that a document has gone through, along with any comments a user might have left along the way. – Andrew Oct 24 '16 at 14:40
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    @Andrew "Google Docs" also don't quite convey everything that is happening there if you put the problem like that. My advice is to keep it simple. UI has his role too there, is not all about the title. – Madalina Taina Oct 24 '16 at 15:39

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