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Posts Tagged ‘tooltip’

I happened to be checking out a listing of healthcare application vendors and found the use of tooltips to be kind of backwards – Here’s what I mean:

Table with tooltips for each cell

Each and every cell in the table shows me a tooltip that is an exact copy of the data in the cell itself.

I then started checking out the rest of the table and I discovered a place where tooltips probably would have been helpful:

Table with sort function within column header but no tooltip

Table with sorted column after clicking header

I am given absolutely no indication that an action can be done by clicking the column headers. Turns out the columns are sortable if I click on the headers.

I looked at the page a little closer and at the top of the screen I found this:

“You can view the interactive list presented at the top in which you can click the column headings to sort by column”

They did try to let users know that the sorting capability is included in the table structure (although the wording also has me bewildered). Unfortunately for them, it has been shown that folks often do not take the time to read the extraneous content when the key information is directly in front of them…

My Recommendation:

Tooltips should provide additional, useful context around the item being hovered over (i.e. displaying print when hovering over a printer icon or spelling out a term when an acronym is used within content) rather than just repeating the same information already being displayed to the user.

It would be more appropriate to refrain from using the tooltips for each individual cell in the table and rather put it to use when a user hovers over the column headers to let them know there is functionality built within them (i.e. Sort by Location).

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