I’d like to expand a bit on one of the Fedora 12 polish items Matthias already blogged about. Better Tooltips.
As most of you know, tooltips are the little window-like pop-ups that (hopefully) provide helpful information about a user interface element (widget, control, etc) as you hover over it. It seems to me they were originally used to provide textual assistance for the case where the user is unsure what a tool will do when activated. And were particularly useful when the tool had no intrinsic text. However, since then their use has expanded and become more generalized. They are used for quite a few different things today and can contain more than simple text.
Now granted, you have probably never been consciously annoyed by tooltips. More likely you haven’t really thought a lot about them at all. But that doesn’t imply there is no room for improvement. I spent a few hours examining my own interactions with tooltips and I came up with a few things that bothered me. These basically fall into the categories of: color, shape, and position.
The issues with color and shape are fairly obvious. Yellow! boxes! right out of the mid 90s. The issues with positioning are a bit more subtle.
Notice how the tooltip:
- Obscures what you are looking at
- Gets all up in your shit
- Does not appear in a stable position
- Appears to be more closely associated with the pointer position than the thing that is providing the tip
How about something like…