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Subject: A Systematic Way to Describe Non-Computer Controls (Relating to "Hardware Control Domain")

This email is related to the discussion started by Zoe Lawson which has
evolved into "New element for things you press on keyboards"
(https://github.com/oasis-tcs/dita/issues/257), and in this case, I am
addressing the non-computer control part of the discussion.

I thought that one of the reasons why it proved hard to progress in this
discussion was not knowing what all of the potential non-computer style
"controls" actually are. From what I have been able to find, there are two
major sets of hardware controls: discrete and continuous, which are
further broken down into specific control that fall under each category:

Discrete controls (offering specific values, with may or may not be binary):
- push button (e.g., pedestrian crossing button)
- toggle switch (e.g., typical light-switch, which can include 3-way or
more settings)
- selector (e.g, aviation switch for selecting one of multiple settings, a
phase selector, or even a gear shift)

Continuous control (offering gradual increments of control):
- crank (e.g., a hand-crank for a boat winch or pencil sharpener)
- wheel (e.g., hand wheel for valve controls, or any sort of potentiometer
like an analog radio selector control)
- lever (e.g., water facet valves that use a single control, joysticks
also fit into this category)
- pedal (e.g., car accelerator and brake)

The names used here are derived from
https://www.ergonomics4schools.com/lzone/controls.htm, which lists as one
of its references a 1987 British ergonomics book I have not been able to
track down. I have also looked at various studies of ergonomics and this
appears to line up with what (little) I have found elsewhere on the
subject. There are other "actions" such as screws or alarms behind glass,
but these require a tool (screwdriver, hammer) rather than a built-in

If people in the TC find this classification scheme useful, we could talk
about the types of controls (discrete and continuous) and the specific
controls that fall under them, and consider coming up with
elements/attributes that could be applied. For example:

Elements only:
Press the big, red <discrete-control><push-button>Emergency

Elements and attributes:
<continuous-control type="wheel">Turn the tuner</continuous-control> to
102.1 FM.

Hopefully this will provide more context for the hardware control
discussion! Cheers!

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