Terminology: much disagreement

Subject: Terminology: much disagreement
From: "Beth Kane" <bethkane -at- tcisolutions -dot- com>
To: <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 14:28:25 -0700

I've gotten a lot of response to my previous post (thank you), but the
answers are diverse!
Here are the opinions so far about what to call a rectangular pop-up that
appears when your mouse hovers over an element in a window:

- Context help
- Bubble help
- What?s This help
- Tooltips (some say this is becoming more generic -- not just for toolbar
buttons, it refers to small pop-ups that "can appear over any control that
doesn't have a label")
- Clue help (now, there's a new one)
- Screen tips (one person said Word 97 uses this term, so it isn't
antiquated & DOSy)
- fly-over text
- pop-ups
- mouse-over help
- If it's on the tool bar or menu = tool tips
- If it's pretty much anywhere else = "What's This?" Help

I need to stress that this pop-up help isn't being used just for buttons.
It's being used as field help in some cases, and can be used over anything
the programmer wants to define. The people where I work have been calling it
"fly-over help," which I thought was improper, thus prompting this thread.

It's my understanding from the MS Manual of Style that it shouldn't be
called ToolTips unless it's really defining a tool -- usually in the form of
a button. That makes sense to me.
Also, it's my understanding that it can't be What's This help unless you
click a yellow question mark button in the toolbar first, then click the
thing you want to learn more about.
And it can't be balloon or bubble help unless it really appears in a
round-edged pop-up.

Is there really this much disagreement about what to call this? I've had the
most consensus on calling it ToolTips (about three people), which surprised
me. More feedback, please!
~Beth
bethkane -at- tcisolutions -dot- com





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