Providing the definition of a word or phrase used in an unusual or restricted way
The objective of this technique is to provide a definition for any word used in an unusual or restricted manner.
A word is used in an unusual or restricted way when:
- dictionaries give several definitions of the word, but a specific definition must be used to understand the content;
- one specific definition has to be used to understand the content and the dictionaries list it as rare, archaic, obsolete, etc;
- the author creates a new definition that must be used to understand the content;
This technique can also be used to define jargon, i.e., specialized vocabulary used in a particular profession or technical field that is understood by people in that field, but not by outsiders.
Technique can also be used to define idiomatic expressions. For example, speakers of a language living in a given region may use idiomatic expressions that are accepted by everyone in the region, but not by people in other regions where the same language is spoken.
Providing a glossary
The objective of this technique is to facilitate the definition of a word, phrase or abbreviation by means of a glossary. A glossary is an alphabetical list of words, phrases and abbreviations with their definitions. Glossaries are most appropriate when the words, phrases and abbreviations used in the content are related to a specific discipline or technology area. A glossary can also provide the pronunciation of a word or phrase.
The glossary is included at the bottom of the web page or is located through one of the content location mechanisms within a set of web pages.
If the glossary contains multiple definitions for the same word, phrase or abbreviation, it is not sufficient to provide the glossary to satisfy this success criterion. A different technique must be used to find the correct definition. This is especially important if the uses of the word, phrase or abbreviation are not unique within the web page, i.e., if different occurrences of the element have different definitions.
Linking to definitions
The goal of this technique is to facilitate the definition of a word, phrase or abbreviation by providing the definition, either within the same web page or on a different web page, and establishing a link between the element and its definition.
Links are a powerful option for providing access to the definition of a word, phrase or abbreviation. A user can use the link to find the definition quickly and easily, and then return to its place in the content via the user agent’s Back button.