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".

  • 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
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 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
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 13:32
  • 1
    Are the tab titles always visible and obvious? If so, you could just call it "Settings"
    – Karen
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 13:54
  • @BenBrocka : Yes, the settings page is directly accessible from the bottom tab bar. Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 17:23

2 Answers 2


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.

  • "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
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 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
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 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
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 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.

  • 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. Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 16:10
  • 1
    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." Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 18:07
  • Good idea fixed :) Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 18:07

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