[openbeos] Re: Tool tips

  • From: "Cyan" <cyanh256@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: openbeos@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 15 Sep 2008 02:43:15 +0100 BST

> I find tooltips can be very useful and I don't find them intrusive 
> at all if they are done well.
> On the other hand I have a drawing app that shows co-ordinates as
> a tooltip as soon as I move anything and it often gets in the way.

Would you find Humdinger's idea of having a specific key or mouse
button to show the tool-tips (with no delay between pressing it and
the tool-tip appearing) a major inconvenience?

(This is assuming the icons are as clear as possible in their design,
preferably with text captions. Otherwise the GUI could be considered
broken regardless of tool-tip implementation)

Here's some of the possible ways it could be implemented:

- Middle mouse button acts as the "help"/"info" button when not
  being used for scrolling.

- Alternatively (or in addition to?) a key could be used, such
  as one of the Windows extended keys that Humdinger suggested,
  or something else (e.g. right control, pause, alt gr, etc.).

- It could be configured so that you have to hold the key to
  see the tool-tips (and rolling the mouse over different on-screen
  elements instantly flips between them) and releasing hides them.
  The tool-tips could follow the mouse pointer pixel-by-pixel in
  this variation, so they never hide what you're pointing to.

- Or it could be configured so that the key is pressed once to show
  the tool-tips, and moving the mouse away (or clicking) clears the

- Or it could even be an on/off toggle instead. Re-using scroll
  lock might be appropriate, since it has a (redundant) toggle
  operation associated with it?

- Probably many other variations on the idea. Any other suggestions?

Also on a related note, I'm just looking at the BeMail toolbar
(which I think is a good example of a toolbar done properly), and
also the Firefox toolbar. Putting the two windows side-by-side
reveals that the toolbars are exactly the same height.
While the Firefox toolbar is icons-only (and therefore relies on
tool-tips), the BeMail toolbar manages to fit text captions into
the same space, and still retains icon clarity.

I mention this only because lots of people consider captions below
toolbar icons to be space hogs (hence tool-tips everywhere),
but that needn't be the case.
If the icons are 16x16 there might be a problem, but I think having
toolbar icons so small defeats the point of them anyway -- large
quick-access mouse targets for the most commonly-used functions.

One of the more extreme examples of that (and why tool-tips become
so important when such design errors have occured):


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