Projects/Usability/HIG/SOU Workspace/Supplemental Information

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Sometimes additional Information has to be given to the user to allow him/her to correctly use a widget/form/dialog or to warn of possibly harmful settings.

Guidelines

There are three ways to provide additional information in KDE4:

  • Additional Text directly on the interface
  • Tooltips
  • The "What's this?"-Function (?-Icon)


Additional UI-Text

Use this method if

  • most users are likely to need the information to correctly use a widget or a whole dialog/form
  • the window in which it is displayed is not used regularly
  • or if the user has to be warned of potentially harmful actions before using the widget
  • If the note/instruction concerns the entire dialog or form, place it below it's title with at least one text-height of space above and below it. Display an information/warning-icon before the text
  • If the note/instruction concerns a group of widgets, place it at the top of the group, but inside it's frame
  • If the note/instruction concerns a single widget, place it above the widget. Place it closer to the widget concerned than to the one above to make the connection clear

Example of supplemental information on a group of options

Supplemental information (in this case a warning) given on a group of options

Tooltips

Use this method if

  • many users need the information, but only the first time they are using the dialog/form
  • Users are unlikely to be hovering the cursor over the widget unless they are looking for additional information
  • The description can be short (no more then 25 words)

The "What's this?"-Function

Use this method if

  • only few users are likely to need the information
  • or if users are likely to often hover the cursor over a widget, thus making tooltips annoying
  • the description would be too long for a tooltip

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