Currently working on wireframes for a mobile app and am using w/ to say "with" when discussing a primary object which has customized items listed as small images.

My question is: Do you happen to know, or have you seen any studies which indicate recognition/comprehension of shorthand in the traditional sense when used in consumer applications?

2 Answers 2


I found this to be an interesting question. I run into issues with abbreviations quite a bit, some people prefer to use one that's make sense to them while ignoring the official standards and vice versa. Shorthand seems to be an interesting option.

After quite a bit of research I only found one study and it's not exactly what I expected. The study focuses on the "practical value of the study of shorthand". Not an exact match, but it does provide some interesting insight. It could be a springboard to further research but unfortunately, I've used up my research time for the day.

If nothing else, it's a short read and does provide some interesting insight.



Abbreviations are a common source of friction between users, maintaining staff and developers. For example, imagine a user comes across an abbreviation they don't understand during a payment process and have to cancel the payment. They contact maintenance, who have to say it's nothing to do with them. User gets annoyed pretty quickly, so do maintenance staff. Maintenance then get onto the dev and tell them to fix it, but the dev has other more important things to do.

You get the point. And whether your system is dealing with critical issues like payment or not, it's wise to keep less well-known abbreviations well away from users. My suggestions for your problem:

  • You can and should use abbreviations while developing. They will make processes quicker, even if only marginal.
  • You should remove any and all undefined abbreviations from your system before it goes live.
  • You should provide definitions for any abbreviations left in. This is often done in the form 'Abbreviation Text Here (ATH)'. After this you can use the abbreviation without definition.

Some references, mainly for grammatical accuracy and international standards compliance:

Also from the Grammarly page:

It's important that when writing, your reader doesn't get so bogged down in figuring out the short forms that they forget what they're reading.

Good advice to follow. Where users are concerned, use abbreviations sparingly.

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