W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > July 2007

Re: ToolTips: bug or feature?

From: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 13:08:07 -0500
Message-Id: <967869F8-61B6-4F49-8FC0-47964513AB31@robburns.com>
To: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>


On Jul 30, 2007, at 2:01 AM, Smylers wrote:

>
> Joshue O Connor writes:
>
>> Davids suggested tooltip attribute ain't a bad idea. It would remove
>> any ambiguity for authors as in @tooltip="visual tooltip",
>> @title="useful for additional information for not visual users",
>> @alt="alternate textual description here".
>
> No it wouldn't.  Because your definitions of title and alt there
> describe their contents; your definition for tooltip descibes how its
> contents will be displayed, but says nothing about what the content  
> is.
> As such, it's quite possible for content to be in multiple categories,
> which obviously doesn't remove amiguity.
>
> And having something as presentational as tooltip output being  
> specified
> in HTML creates problems for all those user-agents which can't include
> tooltips.

I think the term "tooltip" has two different meanings. One is  
semantic  as a tip for using a tool. The other is presentational   
as a foreground view displayed on hover (hover view). The  
presentational tooltip has problems with non-visual browsers, but the  
semantic tooltip does not.

I'm not sure about adding a specific tooltip attribute, but it might  
be useful especially on UI control related elements. Especially if  
CSS adds further support for presenting HTML semantics as a  
foreground view displayed on hover (and UAs adopt that CSS as a  
mechanism to display @title, e.g., through their default style  
sheets), it would give authors the ability to control how @tooltip is  
displayed (along with @title and @alt).

Having said that, I think it would be a good idea for us to specify  
that UAs should provide additional ways to display and handle various  
semantics (often those buried in the source). For example, a document  
fragment could have both @href and @cite set on it and therefore  
require a secondary mechanism to get at @cite. Similarly, an element  
might have @alt, @title and @tooltip set and there should be a way  
for users to get at these attributes without viewing the source or  
even requiring users to view the DOM view. In this way UAs would also  
be freeing the presentational tooltip for authors use (because there  
would be another mechanism like a contextual menu to get at  
attributes and fallback).

Take care,
Rob
Received on Monday, 30 July 2007 18:08:20 UTC

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