A dialogue box is a box that pops up to enable communication between the computer and you, the user. Dialogue boxes may ask you questions or give you information.

  • Once the input has been made, the dialogue box will generally disappear.
  • Some types will be ‘alerts’ which give information with a request for an acknowledgement that the message has been read for example an ‘OK’ button.
  • Some alert boxes will require an action to decide if it should proceed - with an OK button or a Cancel button. It may have a black exclamation mark in a yellow triangle as an alert icon.
  • Other boxes may ask for an action relating to the application you are using. For example, closing down a Word document may bring up a dialogue box asking for ‘save’ or ‘don’t save’ or to cancel the request.
  • Generally, if a dialogue box does appear on the screen, an action must be taken relating to it before you can access other applications on the computer.
  • Sometimes dialogue boxes can get hidden behind other windows, which can be frustrating. Minimising these windows should give  access to any hidden boxes.

Karen Maxwell is a Digital Unite tutor and assessor/trainer of computer accessibility.