[whatwg] Question: rel="help"

Tantek Çelik tantek at cs.stanford.edu
Thu Sep 29 11:52:09 PDT 2011

On Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 11:12, Jukka K. Korpela <jkorpela at cs.tut.fi> wrote:
> 29.9.2011 20:50, Tantek Çelik wrote:
>> Javascript-only help text (tooltip or otherwise) or any other content
>> intended for human consumption is a really bad idea for all the usual
>> reasons
>> (#a11y, mobile, search etc.)
> Except in cases where the information is relevant only when JavaScript is
> enabled.

That's a reasonable theory. Do you have URLs to any real world examples?

> But the original question did not imply, as far as I can see, any
> JavaScript-only idea. On the contrary, using the title="..." attribute
> implies that the text will be available to many people graphic browsers
> (though perhaps just by accident) and to many people using speech-based
> browsing.


>> Consider adjusting your content design to incorporate the help text
>> instead
>> (perhaps with either the respective element's "title" attribute or with
>> a nearby/adjacent element)
> I think that idea was implied in the question:
>>>> Question, would an element with rel="help" and a title="Help text"
>>>> make sense and be valid as a JavaScript hook for tooltips?

Realizing that this example markup was ambiguous - that is:

Does the string "Help text" represent a hypothetical placeholder on a
span or div etc.?

Or is that markup part of a hyperlink that links to a separate help
document? E.g.
<a rel="help" title="Help text" href="help.html">(?)</a>

> I stll think it's best, for all users, to give instructions in normal text
> before the fields to be filled out.


> But there are situations where you
> expect 80% of people do well without any instructions.

Again, seems like a reasonable theory.

Do you have URLs to real world examples thereof?

> I'm not sure of what
> we are expected to do, as authors, in order to give instructions that might
> be needed by 20% of users but would mostly be a distraction for the
> majority.

Theoretical problems are harder to provide specific answers for, but
this might work:

Try the <details> and <summary> elements.




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