I have a checkbox on one of the pages i am designing. My original suggestion was to have this text "Click on the checkbox....". However the technical writer is saying it should be "Click in the checkbox"
What do you think is more accurate?
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In vs. on? It doesn't matter. Both communicate the same thing.
Click? That's not accurate. Well, it's accurate if you use a mouse and a button. But what if you are on a touch device? Or what if I'm using my keyboard? Point being it should be a more neutral word than 'click'. I'd suggest 'select'. Which, btw, solves your previous conundrum as well:
"Select the checkbox"
"Click on the checkbox" is probably both more natural and more accurate, however. For a computer interface, clicking "in" and "on" are the same thing. You are technically clicking "within the confines of a box." Clicking "on" something is simply an illusion, but it is a useful one. Additionally, a click is technically a mouse driven action, whereas a touch device would have a "tap", "touch", or "press" action.
Another thing to consider: a "checkbox" can also be called a "tickbox", depending on locale, so a more universal approach might be to say "mark the box" as the "box" should be obvious and you are unquestionably "marking" it in some way, regardless of whether you mark it with a "tick" or a "check". The semantics of "check" vs. "tick" are rather interesting and might be relevant to this question.
You have to - of course - click on the checkbox, but the mouse needs to be inside the checkbox. But that is not even important. It should state what the user needs to do. Therefore I'd say "Select checkbox". More text would simply confuse the user and add extra (unnecessary) time to their user experience.
"Check the box", as suggested is open to confusion as the word 'check' can also refer to 'verify'.
A technical writer's job is to explain end-user level, this generally means keeping it as simple as possible. The simplest phrases would be:
"(un)tick the checkbox" or "(de)select the checkbox"
The latter avoids the 'tick' vs 'check' discussion and works for any variant of English.
Instructions about checkboxes should include information about what (de)selection will achieve, for example:
"Select the checkbox to ensure that all sub-entries are calculated."
On a related note: The use of "in" or "on" is omitted in Microsoft documentation (why not take things from the source) where possible. So it would be "click", rather than "click on".
Of course "Click the checkbox" is also non-starter as it does not take the state of the checkbox into account - unless you wanted to use 'unclick' :)
Checkboxes are intuitive enough and user understands that they need to select it if they want to proceed or avail or something is there which is relevant to them.
Instead of focusing on "click on the checkbox" or "click in the checkbox", we need to put emphasize on the associated instructional message and its proximity with the checkbox.
Hm, as far as being intuitive...
How about this?
Click the checkbox and completely remove "in" and "on". :)
Although of course, that's referring to the fact that the user is using a desktop application of some sort, which provides them the ability to click.
.. I suppose select the checkbox would work just as well.
Edit: I think Terry is on to something there. Checkboxes, if you think about them, really are intuitive enough all on their own, to the point where instruction text may not even be needed.