[whatwg] Web Apps 1.0: On-line help
ian at hixie.ch
Mon May 9 15:04:01 PDT 2005
On Mon, 9 May 2005, Ben Meadowcroft wrote:
> Discoverability would be left to the user agents.
Unless someone can come up with a way to make discoverability practical
and usable, there is no point us having this feature. The user agent
manufacturers have already looked at this for some time and failed to come
up with any reasonable mechanisms, which is why we removed help="" from
Web Forms 2. Saying it is "left up to the UAs" doesn't help us when we
_are_ the UAs. :-)
> This kind of help is fairly well established in windows, just look at
> the internet options dialog of Internet Explorer for an example.
Context-sensitive help is well established in modern GUIs, yes. But the
mechanisms by which it is made available are not available or discoverable
to the end user in a Web scenario.
* A cursor doesn't help, since it requires the user to hover over the
element in order to discover there is help needed.
* A hot key is not useful since there is no way for the user to know when
it would work (and since in the overwhelming majority of cases it would
do nothing, there is no reason for the user to think to try it).
* A menu item has the same problem as a hot key.
* A button that can be pressed like in Windows dialogs is not an option
because such a button doesn't exist and UA vendors object to
introducing new buttons due to the noticable effect it has on
usability (based on studies that have been made).
* An icon that appears next to controls with help is unworkable since
the icons would interfere with the page layout and thus need to be
stylable to satisfy authors. (Furthermore, such help is already
possible in a backwards-compatible way simply using hyperlinks.)
Ian Hickson U+1047E )\._.,--....,'``. fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/ U+263A /, _.. \ _\ ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer. `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
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