Re: UA controlling display of tooltip


I think you're right that when content is placed in a tooltip and shown 
to the user it is "rendered content" according to that definition and so 
it should have a rendering that is configurable.

Now, I have a question. One of the Techniques of "4.1 Configure text 
scale (P1)" is "Inherit text size information from user preferences 
specified for the operating environment."...

...but since it doesn't mention whether this is "sufficient" it ok 
if the User Agent simply passes through the text scale settings of the 
OS (which IE7 on Windows does for tooltips)?

We probably should address this explicitly as you say.


Jim Allan wrote:
> On the last call (Aug 2, 2007)[1], we discussed tooltips as they relate to
> user agent. Just wanted to capture some thought in text rather than minutes
> of calls.
> Tooltips
> Definition from Wikipedia:
> The tooltip is a common graphical user interface element. It is used in
> conjunction with a cursor, usually a mouse pointer. The user hovers the
> cursor over an item, without clicking it, and a small box appears with
> supplementary information regarding the item being hovered over...Another
> system, on the Macintosh computer, that aims to solve the same problem, but
> in a slightly different way, is balloon help. Another term for tooltip, used
> in Microsoft end-user documentation, is “ScreenTip”.[2]
> Note: this discussion does not apply to the debate of the appropriateness of
> a tooltip being displayed for @alt on images.
> Currently, tooltips are displayed when the mouse pointer hovers over an
> element with a @title (title attribute). The tooltip displays the value of
> the @title of the element.
> As far as I know, at least on Windows (need information from other
> platforms), 'tooltip' configuration happens at the operating system level.
> The UA has no control.
> A review of CSS ( shows no CSS control for any
> aspects related to tooltips. There are attribute selectors, such as @alt and
> @title, that could be used by authors to change the appearance of tooltips.
> I could not find instances of using these attributes to modify tooltip
> rendering on the web. Any instances are appreciated.
> There are work-arounds for changing UA behavior for tooltips, for example
>, however,
> this example (as well as others) uses "a:hover" and  "span" but not @title.
> ====
> Issues:
> 1. the UAAG definition of 'rendered content' states "Rendered content is the
> part of content that the user agent makes available to the user's senses of
> sight and hearing (and only those senses for the purposes of this document).
> Any content that causes an effect that may be perceived through these senses
> constitutes rendered content. This includes text characters, images, style
> sheets, scripts, and anything else in content that, once processed, may be
> perceived through sight and hearing."
> To me value of a 'title' attribute is visually rendered content according to
> the definition and Checkpoint 4.1 Configure text scale (P1), 4.2 Configure
> font family (P1), and 4.3 Configure text colors (P1) should apply. That is,
> when the user configures font size, family, and color the configuration
> should apply to the 'tooltip'.
> However, there is a problem, in that 'tooltips' are generally rendered
> differently (background is different and it has a border), to make it more
> visible. May need a new checkpoint or a new provision to existing
> checkpoints.
> Thoughts?
> 2. 'tooltip' behavior, that is the tooltip appears when a user hovers the
> mouse pointer over content that the UA chooses to render visually. This
> fails Checkpoint 1.1 Full keyboard access (P1),
> [1]
> [2]
> Jim Allan, Webmaster & Statewide Technical Support Specialist
> Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
> 1100 W. 45th St., Austin, Texas 78756
> voice 512.206.9315    fax: 512.206.9264
> "We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us." McLuhan, 1964

Jan Richards, M.Sc.
User Interface Design Specialist
Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC)
Faculty of Information Studies
University of Toronto

   Phone: 416-946-7060
   Fax:   416-971-2896

Received on Wednesday, 8 August 2007 20:52:17 UTC