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Fri, 13 Feb 2004 11:11:15 -0500
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Thanks much to those who responded.  The information was very helpful.
I would love to hear more on this topic if others have thoughts.

Regards,
Marcy

Marcy Walker
Manugistics, Inc.
(301) 255-8192 (office)
(703) 973-2957 (cell)
[log in to unmask]


Question posted last week:

Folks,
We are developing many different web applications.  As we build more
functionality into our pages, I'm running up
against the issue of overloading hyperlinks in our pages.  The current
collision is that an entity on our page can
have several actions and information associated with it.  An entity can
have a tooltip-like menu that provides some
quick summary information.  But it is also has a menu of actions that can
be performed on it, so clicking the link produces a small
entity-specific menu.  Currently, these two menus are colliding.

Responses:


*comments inline*
> Folks,
> We are developing many different web applications.  As we build more
> functionality into our pages, I'm running up
> against the issue of overloading hyperlinks in our pages.  The current
> collision is that an entity on our page can
> have several actions and information associated with it.  An entity can
> have a tooltip-like menu that provides some
> quick summary information.  But it is also has a menu of actions that
can
> be performed on it, so clicking the link produces a small
> entity-specific menu.  Currently, these two menus are colliding.

OK, got the scene...

> A couple of questions:
> - How have folks indicated that a tooltip exists on a entity represented
> by text only.  Or is this just a bad idea?

Tool-tips are a good idea for noveau users. But as the users get more
accustomed to the inetrface, the tooltips only get in the way. Perhaps,
you
can leave the decision of keeping the tooltips on or off on the user.

> - How can a menu of entity-specific actions be invoked.  Right now,
> clicking on the linked entity produces that menu.

Clicking = Following a link OR Selecting an option. If a click opens the
entity-specific actions menu, I bet many users will get frustrated. Maybe
you should fire the menu on hover... and move the tooltip to the browser's
status bar.

If you have any further questions, please get in touch with me in person
:).

Regards,

Amol Hatwar
Principal Consultant
Pixelmunge

+91 9823142220

---------------------------------------------------------------
I suggest removing the tool tip and make sure your labeling for all
functions/items on the page are adequate to describe at least it's most
basic functionality. If the item itself cannot do that, then users should
have _some_ idea from the list of functions that you can perform on that
item. I find that people can easily overdo the concept of tool tips and
use
it as a substitute for good labeling.

Then I would use css to dynamically generate that menu of actions that can
be performed on that entity - i.e when someone hovers their mouse over
that
item, a box appears slightly above or below it to describe what can be
done
to it  (much like a tool tip).

Hope that helps,
Jessica
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Marcy,

> How have folks indicated that a tooltip exists on a entity represented
by text only.  Or is this just a bad idea?

I think it's a good idea.  I have seen this accomplished by underlining
the
text differently than a link.  For example, search for "Most current
browsers" at http://www.alistapart.com/articles/practicalcss/.  The example
is for text embedded within prose, however, not a command.

> Are we setting users up for confusion by overloading what a hyperlink
does:  produce a tooltip, produce a menu, navigate to another page.

Yes, if it behaves differently, it's appearance should be different.  The
solution described above accomplishes this.

Best regards,

Doug

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