[whatwg] Question: rel="help"

Jukka K. Korpela jkorpela at cs.tut.fi
Fri Sep 30 01:08:42 PDT 2011

29.9.2011 21:52, Tantek Çelik wrote:

> 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?

For example, various virtual keyboard pages use such techniques. Say,
http://www.virtualkeyboard.ws has buttons for entering characters, with 
mouseover events that show information about the key.

>>>>> 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 assumed the latter. At least it makes sense. And it would make sense, 
in my opinion, to have JavaScript code that displays the string in the 
title attribute. The reason is that although graphic browsers generally 
display that value on mouseover by default, the implementations have 
oddities that reduce usability: the "tooltip" text is in a 
system-dependent font (cannot be styled by the author, cannot be 
modified by the user except via system settings), and it may disappear 
after some seconds.

>> 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?

Say, http://forums.whatwg.org/bb3/ucp.php?mode=register looks like a 
sure case. Or did you mean a form that additionally may have a problem 
for 20% of people or less? I guess _every_ form has some potential 
problem to _some_ people. The form cited has a "Confirmation of 
registration" question. I would expect well over 80% of users to be able 
to answer it without difficulties, but I'm afraid there's a 
non-ignorable amount of people who might get puzzled by it.

>> 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.

I don't think the problem is theoretical (although it was formulated in 
general terms - as this seems natural in a discussion like this). The 
answer is, as there is no support worth mentioning yet.

> http://html5doctor.com/the-details-and-summary-elements/

So you have some URLs to real world examples? :-)

Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

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