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Secondary Help Available from Text of Common Tooltip Disclosure Number: IPCOM000014931D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Jul-04
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20

Publishing Venue



Graphical user interfaces are pervasive in the computing industry today. Typical applications and operating system interfaces feature a myriad of controls and 'widgets' that users must understand semantically and interact with physically to navigate and otherwise complete tasks. To aid users in understanding visual items as they are encountered, in a "just-in-time" manner, the common industry practice of providing "tooltips" (pop-up contextual help) has evolved. Originally these took the look of 'balloons' like those used for dialogue in cartoons, with text describing an object that the balloon pointed to as seen in Figure 1.1: Figure 1.1. Balloon style tooltip . Today, other forms are used, such as rectangular boxes filled with text that might appear adjacent to the object in question after the user has 'hovered' the mouse pointer over the object past some threshold amount of time as seen in figure 1.2.