I am designing an application where users can assemble collections of documents that will then be processed in some way (how and for what purpose these sets are processed is not relevant to this question).

From a mathematical point of view, I guess that the term document sets would be more accurate than the term document collections since the term set when compared to the term collection additionally conveys that there is no inherent order among the documents in a collection. This is why in the source code I am using the term document set.

But which of the two terms is more appropriate for front-end use, that is from the user perspective? Does the term set sound unnecessarily more technical than collection? Are there general guidelines when to use a more general or more specific term for a concept at hand (i.e. hyperonym vs hyponym)?

  • have you asked your users what they would call it?
    – Midas
    Commented Jun 5, 2016 at 10:21
  • Just as a sidenote, terms like 'set' or 'group' are shorter than 'collection' which may be handy to save some UI space. Commented Jun 5, 2016 at 11:42

2 Answers 2


Collection would be a lot better than Set. Google+ uses the term which means many users are familiar with the it.

However, I would suggest you call it a Folder which can be named by the user. Since they are documents; a folder can have multiple files.


Your question is very broad and lacks context. But here are some suggestions:

Call it what your users see or can expect to see. If it’s a categorized list of documents, call it Categories, when it’s a list of most recently viewed documents call it Recently viewed, is it a search result call it Results etc. You shouldn't just guess what your users will understand but ask them. If they understand the terms set or collection it's fine, but you really need to investigate their domain to know. As a fallback you can also just call it a list, or gallery or in whatever form the "set" is shown.

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