Background

Tooltips are short text fragments that appear when you hover your mouse over a GUI control. They provide further explanation of an item beyond the item's icon or label, but not as much as the item's help documentation.

There are a few guidelines out there for how to use tooltips:

  • Windows (external link):
    • Tooltips are concise fragments that identify unlabeled controls
    • Infotips are longer, and provide supplementary information for other controls
    • Use tooltips to provide labels for unlabeled controls. Be concise and specific.
    • Use infotips for objects for which users are likely to want supplemental information.
    • If only a few objects have helpful infotips, don't use them at all.
    • Tooltips are fragments with sentence capitalization.
    • Infotips are full sentences with sentence capitalization.
    • Don't cover the current object or objects the user will interact with next.
    • Tooltips have a 5-second timeout. Infotips don't have a timeout.
  • OS X (external link):
    • Help tags provide basic help for interface elements
    • Describe controls that are unique to your app (not standard controls)
    • Use the fewest words possible. Use fragments with sentence capitalization.
    • Help tags disappear after 10 seconds.
  • GNOME (external link):
    • Tooltips are concise descriptions of a control that provide more information than the label.
    • Every toolbar control should have a tooltip.

GMAT Style

  • Tooltips are defined as strings in GMAT\bin\GMAT.ini
  • All unlabeled controls musthave a tooltip.
    • Use a concise fragment, in sentence-style capitalization, with no period.
      Examples: "New mission", "Open", "Run", "Start animation"
  • Labeled controls (like input boxes) mayhave a tooltip. Such tooltips should follow the following guidelines:
    • They should be helpful but not required. If they are required to use the control, they should be on the panel itself.
    • They should be full sentences, in sentence-style capitalization, with periods.
    • If only a few tooltips on the panel end up being helpful, find another way. Don't use tooltips at all (they won't be consistent).
    • Long tooltips should stay visible longer, should not cover the controls the user is interacting with (or about to interact with), and should not be so wide they're hard to read.
  • Recommendation: Try on a few panels and see how it goes.
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