Is there a general term to describe objects that a user can interact with in a UI and how they are used by the user?

I'm writing a program which needs several types of UI and I'd like a way of naming functions which doesn't tie it down to one type in particular.

For example, in each of the UIs there should be a way of starting some tests running. If the only UI I was writing for was a {GUI / command line / voice command}, I'd use a name like {StartButtonPressed / StartOptionSelected / StartCommandGiven}, but I'd like a generic term to cover all UI types (or at least not tie it down to a single type).

The term should describe what event has happened, not what is required as a result of this event (e.g. StartRequested).

Any thoughts on what terminology to use for this?

1 Answer 1


In the end, everything that happens because of user input is the result of a command. whether it is to create a new file, reorder the layout of a window or run a SQL query, whatever you like, those can all be named "commands" or a series of them. To give some examples:

  • StartCreateFileCommand
  • StartDragAndDropCommand
  • StartExecuteSqlQueryCommand


  • 1
    Ideally I'd like it to be a passive phrase (used as an event name) rather than an active one, but command seems like a pretty good catch-all for the object name. I might go with something like StartTestsCommandIssued unless anyone else has a better idea.
    – Philip C
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 12:55
  • In Java, there is the example of actionlisteners (action might be a replacement for command btw :)). It's an interface for AWT/Swing that tells when an action has been performed. Two terms you maybe want to use?
    – MarioDS
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 12:57
  • StartTestsActionPerformed does sound like a good option. The action required to start the tests was performed by the user. Sums it up nicely really :)
    – Philip C
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 13:03
  • Glad to help. Good luck, and hopefully you won't encounter problems with that implementation :)
    – MarioDS
    Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 13:07

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