Tool tips can be helpful, but watch out for when they are not! Irritating tool tips are appearing in random places.
The image below is of a tool tip with the word, ‘About’ in its little gray button-like balloon. The tool tip displays as I hover on the navigation link called, ‘About’. I am betting this is a minor bug, but it’s a big gripe of mine. This tip is not telling me anything I need to know – I mean, what more can you say, it’s a link! One nice thing about mousing over the link is that it becomes underlined text and that is all that is needed.
Further, this unhelpful tool tip covers up the next row of navigation options. Anyone dealing with usability knows this is taboo. When the navigation is kept from my view I can’t see what else is available. Despite this bug though, IXDA is a great resource for interactive designers. http://www.ixda.org/local/ixda-minneapolis
Next is an example of a tool tip I battle continuously. This is a capture of a folder in Windows 7. Notice that it’s difficult to view the next thumbnail picture in this list? And even more irritating, I can’t move my mouse over to the bottom arrow of the scroll bar because I can’t see it. If I want to scroll to the next file, I have to move my mouse off of the file and wait for the tip to go away. Then I can move my mouse over to the arrow in order to scroll (if I grab the scroll bar itself, it will jump too far when I have a lot of files in a folder).
I have dealt with this particular tool tip long enough. I shut-off the tool tip in my folders and it’s a nice, minor improvement.