[Usability] Help tip area (Was: Better look Re: (no subject))

--- Josue Farde <josuefrade sapo pt> wrote:
> and the explanation box insted of being on top of
> the icon appears from
> the top right side with the icon and the explanation
> margined right...

I didn't this idea at first... but the more I think
about it, the more I like it.

Consider tooltips:
- they often cover up the object they related to
- they disppear before you've read them

These are bad for users whose reading speed is slow,
or whose speed at taking in interface elements is
slow. In fact, they can sometimes confuse a user, who
is reading one thing only to have it covered up. I
sometimes find myself apologizing for tooltips when
showing beginner users something, because they get in
the way.

There is a limit on how much you can fit into a
tooltip. This isn't a problem with the menu tooltips,
since they are short... at least in English.
But I have been thinking about GConfig, and why I
sometimes prefer using that instead of a preferences
dialog. GConf has a lot of built-in help, that is
displayed in the panel below the property list. A lot
of the long help texts are too big for a tooltip.

You also can't get further help from a tooltip: you
can't put a link to open the help documentation in

So, imagine a help box that comes down from the top
panel, just like the calendar applet. 
You could keep it open and check new messages that
appear there.
It would always be in the same place: you'd know where
to look.
It wouldn't interfere with the mouse or cover up the
object you're looking at.
It could provide more than a brief sentence to
It could provide a link to more extensive

I think a mockup of this would be interesting -- but
based on the current GNOME look. This is a separate
idea from changing the theming of GNOME.

We would need to include a clause that the help box
can NEVER be drawn as a speech bubble with a cartoon
character based on office stationery ;)

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