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Sight- and ability-based language

Avoid figurative language that refers to physical abilities when a more accurate term exists. For example, "reach out to us" is an idiomatic expression for "contact us" that implies that the reader has hands and arms for reaching out. When more precise language exists, such as "contact us," use that expression instead.

Although referring to physical abilities might not be outright offensive, using idiomatic expressions can alienate readers who do not possess these abilities. Figurative language also makes text harder to translate for localization.

The most common verb that's associated with figurative language is "to see." While blindness is associated with ignorance, seeing is often associated with knowledge and understanding. For example, "do you see my point?"

Because so much language is rooted in vision, it's impossible to avoid its use entirely. For some alternatives to common uses of sight-based language, refer to the following sections. For other uses and alternatives, refer to the Merriam-Webster Thesaurus.

See as in "to view"

When directing a reader to follow a link or access another document, use one of the following verbs:

  • Check
  • Refer to
  • Access
  • Visit
For more information, see...For more information, refer to...
See this page for examples.Visit this page for examples.
To see your analytics, open this menu.To access your analytics, open this menu.
For the latest updates, see the Changelog.For the latest updates, check the Changelog.
See also: <glossary terms>Related content: <glossary terms>

See as in "to realize"

When directing a reader to learn new information or observe a difference, use one of the following verbs:

  • Realize
  • Determine
  • Learn about
  • Note
To see what the cause of the error is...To determine the cause of the error...
To see the latest updates...To learn about the latest updates...
See the difference in output between the two render pipelines.Note the difference in output between the two render pipelines.
I see what you're trying to say.I realize what you're trying to say.

See as in "to encounter"

When describing any errors, states, or circumstances that a reader might encounter, use one of the following verbs:

  • Encounter
  • Find
  • Experience
If you see errors in your code...If you encounter errors in your code...
You might see increased load times.You might experience increased load times.
Report any problems you see to your quality specialist.Report any problems you find to your quality specialist.

See as in "to know"

Avoid using the verb "see" when referring to knowing or understanding.

The benefits of this feature can be clearly seen.The benefits of this feature are well-known.
I see the importance of establishing a feedback mechanism.I understand the importance of establishing a feedback mechanism.