Re: Name for Help

Subject: Re: Name for Help
From: Fred M Jacobson <fred -at- BOOLE -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 1994 08:38:25 PDT


I think the descriptions of the message bar and status line make it
clear that calling information that appears in an area "status line
help" is incorrect unless the line is also used for status. Calling
it "message bar help" is better, but if no other messages appear there
why isn't it "help bar help."

In my experience, the programs that have this feature display a
description of what is under the mouse pointer or of what happens
if I click there. For example, a drawing package I have displays
"Changes current color to orange" when the cursor is over the
orange patch in the pallette. (I don't have the program here,
so I can't check to see what they call the messages.)

I like one term I've seen. At least one application calls this
"microhelp." This seems to let me know that I'm going to get a
_little_ (maybe a _very_ little) help. I don't know how common
this term is. If I got to decide, I'd call this information that
flashes up as you move the mouse pointer around "quick help,"
because I think it's main advantage is how fast the information
appears. I'd make a real effort to make the messages helpful.

By the way, I think this bottom-of-the-window "instant help"
(another possible name) is a lot better than Mac balloon help.
But, like balloon help, it can be distracting, so I should be
able to turn it off.

INTERNET: fred -at- boole -dot- com PHONE: (408) 526-3292 FAX: (408) 526-3055
USPS: Fred Jacobson / Boole & Babbage / 3131 Zanker Road / San Jose CA 95134

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