A tooltip failure

January 27th, 2014 | Posted by The Robocolum(n) in User Assistance

I came across the following tooltip in a product I use. It is so bad that I felt it should be shared for others to see.poor_ui

The tooltip is only half the issue though. The option itself could also be improved. I think the word “prevented” is superfluous to requirements. After all if the option is selected, users will not be allowed to Override the Experiments display options.

The real issue with the above option is the tooltip. The lack of indefinite articles, the wordiness and downright “Uhhh!” factor made me cringe. I know what it is trying to say, so rewriting it should be easy. In this case, it would be better to start from scratch.

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  • Caroline Lynch

    I think “prevented” is actually necessary here (or something like it) because you are preventing users from overriding.. etc. It’s just the word positioning that is really unclear. The question mark is unnecessary. Something like “Prevent override of Experiment display options” would be much better.
    The tooltip is a disaster! Yes, you can just about make sense of it, but it requires some effort.. removing a lot of the words would be a great start!

    • http://www.robocolumn.com/ Colum McAndrew

      Yes I should have read that option a second time. I can see what you mean. Your option rewording is better.

  • http://www.sdicorp.com/Resources/Blog/tabid/77/articleType/AuthorView/authorID/24/lkunz.aspx Larry Kunz

    It looks like somebody put some place-holder text into the tooltip during a pre- pre- pre-alpha phase….and never got around to replacing it. In this case I think that even Lorem Ipsum would’ve been better!

  • Jeff Coatsworth

    Or changing the field label to read something like, “Stop Overrides to [or on] the Experiment Display Options” and changing the tooltip to read something like, “Selecting this option stops users from overriding the display options of the experiment.”

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