Small nitpick from a switcher...

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by illumin8, Oct 30, 2003.

  1. illumin8 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    I don't want to nitpick too much, because so far I have been loving my new PowerBook G4. This is the best computer I have ever owned period, but I am just a little mystified by one thing that I thought Apple would do better on: Tooltips.

    Say what you want about Windows, there is one thing that dramatically decreases the learning curve new users have with the OS: Tooltips. You can hover your mouse over almost any icon or button in any application and within a second you'll get a tooltip that will explain in simple language what that button does before you click on it. Apple seems to have never found a need for this feature. A lot of functionality in Mac OS X just does not support tooltips. You have to blindly click on a button or icon not knowing what irreversible action it might perform.

    This is especially frustrating in the Safari browser. A lot of websites support Tooltips and by hovering over a graphical image of a button or pixmap you get a text description of what will happen if you click on it. Is there any way to enable this in Safari? Safari is a great browser and is incredibly fast, but the useability is not quite as good as IE6 on Windows XP (yet). I fully expect it to surpass IE and in some ways it already does (tabbed browsing). I really thought that Apple, being the leader in useability and Human Interface Guidelines would have adopted Tooltips wholeheartedly.

    Are there any hacks that enable more Tooltips in Mac OS X?

    --edited for punctuation.
     
  2. whocares macrumors 65816

    whocares

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    #2
    Re: Small nitpick from a switcher...

    That is the up-most factor that makes me hate windows. OS X is so much less "in your face" all the time.

    Macs are easy to learn and for simple tasks have in my opinion no need for tooltips. Most basic stuff is quite intuitive.
     
  3. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

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    #3
    Re: Small nitpick from a switcher...

    I could be wrong but I believe in the human interface guidlines it specifically states that if there is an irreversable action that the user should be informed before that action takes place. For instance clicking on random button "A" that formats my hard drive should bring up a box stating, "Are you sure you want to format your harddrive?". So this concern is expressed in the guidelines. It's up to developers to follow them.

    What you are referring to are ALT tags on images. I don't know if ALT tags are used in Safari or not. Myself I dislike them anyhow. I see their purpose if you don't have a graphical browser but if you do have a graphical browser the clickable images should be clear enough that you know what will happen when you click on them. The ALT tags are up to the web site developer to put on the site, not a fault of Safari (unless Safari does not display ALT tags although it might in the status bar).
     
  4. Frisco macrumors 68020

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    #4
    Safari has "Tool tips" or Alt Tags and so does every other Apple program that I know of.

    Go into Safari and put your cursor above the back button or any other button and up pops a "tool tip: They are in MS Office for Mac too,

    :rolleyes:
     
  5. fraeone macrumors regular

    fraeone

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    #5
    Hrmm.. weird. I don't my first Mac yet, but when I used to work in a Mac Lab (System 7?) there was something called bubble help, which I always thought was the inspiration for the Windows tool tips.

    That being said, I hated the bubble help and I'm glad I haven't seen it anywhere since :)
     
  6. illumin8 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #6
    You're right, Safari has Tooltips, it seems to be one of the few Mac apps that does. It doesn't support Alt tags for images though. These are sometimes helpful. For example, one website I go to where people rate photos, you can hover over a photo and the alt tag will show you what rating it has received. This doesn't seem to work in Safari.
     
  7. Frisco macrumors 68020

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    #7
    Mail, Safari, itunes, ical, Address Book, iphoto, ichat, MS Office programs, Photoshop elements, Limewire all have tool tips.
     
  8. Frisco macrumors 68020

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    #8
    One of the things I like about Safari is that you can click and drag any image or text to your desktop or into an application such as Word. Give it a try if you haven't already.
     
  9. iJon macrumors 604

    iJon

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    #9
    oh nooooo, not balloons. apple used to do this in the pre os x days. i hated it, was so annoying and never knew anyone who liked it.

    iJon
     
  10. rt_brained macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    The vast majority of PC (Wintel) owners/users have several basic needs for their machines: email, word processing, games and more recently, storing digital photos. For most, their knowledge of even those programs is fairly limited, and beyond that, their computer fluency tends to drop significantly...more like a rock.

    I also think most people would agree that Mac users tend to have higher levels of education and a more thorough knowledge of their computers, the OS and the software they use. That's why you don't see cartoon animals and dancing and waving little helpers on our screens. The Wintel OS by nature is built with a less educated user in mind.

    Additionally, the PC platform has also been far less intuitive and user-friendly and users have long had the power to access important files that can really screw things up on their computer. So it stands to reason why Microsoft felt it necessary to build an OS that has to watch your every step and explain to you everything you're doing along the way. Actually, Microsoft's desire to play Big Brother goes far deeper than that, but that's a whole 'nother thread.

    With the advent of OSX, Mac users were essentially given similar access to areas once off limits, so we too now have the ability to get inside the code or trash items that can make our lives miserable. But we've learned from past OS's that if you don't recognize an icon or what it does, just leave it alone.
     
  11. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

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    #11
    You can actually do this from most browsers on Windows too... when you click and drag an image it shows the "no" icon but it still works... it shows the "no" icon so you know you can't drop it there. But when you move it onto your desktop it works just fine... but the Safari way is much more intuitive...
     
  12. Santiago macrumors regular

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    #12
    By design, ALT tags on images on web pages are meant to be an ALTernative to the image itself. Originally, they were important to people on low-bandwidth connections with images turned off, though now they are aimed more at vision-impaired people who need a textual description of an image. The problem comes about because IE for Windows will show ALT tags when hovering over an image, so bad web designers use them to provide information that is not available by any other means. Not all browsers show the ALT tag for an image when the image is loaded because, by design, the ALT tag is supposed to be redundant if you can see the actual image.
     
  13. illumin8 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Hey, that makes a lot of sense. Regardless of the original intention when the HTML spec was created, it appears that they are being used for new purposes now that >90% of the world uses IE on Windows as their browser. Although web designers should probably be discouraged from doing this, you can't really fault them for using all the tools available to them to enhance the user experience.

    I think Safari should have an option (in Preferences) to display ALT tags in a ToolTip when the mouse hovers over them. That would be ideal because it could be turned off (or on) depending on your personal preference. I'm going to suggest this to Apple right now.
     
  14. rueyeet macrumors 65816

    rueyeet

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    #14
    Just to clarify: ToolTips are the little text-bits that come up over a button to tell you what it is when you mouse-hover over it. They're a feature of the operating system that may or may not be supported in individual applications by the developers who write them.

    ALT tags are the descriptions that come up on a webpage picture when you mouse-hover over it, as explained above by Santiago. They look like ToolTips, but are a completely different beastie. They were indeed originally intended to be an alternative to the image for text-only browsers or visually-impaired users, but a lot of webpage designers have used them more like captions instead. Their inclusion is up to the individual writing the page code, not the OS vendor of the computer the page is being displayed on.

    So, if you see the ALT tags (not ToolTips) on the pictures of a page in IE on Windows, and don't see it in Safari, then you could either look at that as bug in rendering that particular page to report to Apple, or a coding mistake to mention to the webmaster of the site. But it's not a fault of OS X or of Safari as a whole.
     
  15. mangoduck macrumors regular

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    #15
    indeed. would all of you please stop saying that alt attributes are for "tooltips". this is what the title attribute is for. if people are using alt for what it's not intended, it's microsoft's fault for screwing with the spec. again. because something works in explorer doesn't mean it's right.

    safari doesn't display titles as floating either (though it should), but does show them in the status bar.
     
  16. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #16
    If you have the status bar turned on, Safari displays ALT tags there. It also shows where links lead, helpful if someone wants to send you to a nasty site.

    edit: I suppose I should have read ALL of that last post...
     
  17. illumin8 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Actually, I think it doesn't show the ALT tags, just the URL that it links to.

    I just installed Panther and I noticed that there are a lot more Tooltips in different apps like the Preferences panel now. This is a good thing for a Mac OS X newbie like me. I will say that this OS has one of the shortest learning curves I've ever seen. They pretty much make it idiot proof for you.

    If I was a switcher going from Mac to Windows I would've had to reinstall Windows XP about 3 times already... :D
     
  18. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #18
    Maybe it's something else instead of the ALT tags, as I don't see it very often.
     
  19. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

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    #19
    Well then meet someone who loved them. Not for their own computer but for everyone else's. I would sit down and open every app they had and turn on balloon tips and in the system. Then I would leave.

    Oh, the laughter I would get. It was an evil laugh something like Dr. Frankenstein would do.
     

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