I just stumbled upon this interesting spin on the good old “What’s this?” help link.
Instead of forcing the customer to open a new page to get help, a small tooltip is showed immediately when the “What’s this?” link is hovered. Just a single sentence of help text, briefly hinting at what the features does.
Those in need of more help can still click the link to get the full article – the tooltip explicitly tell you “Click to learn more”. This is a crucial detail since your customers might otherwise think that the tooltip was the only help available.
Instantly displaying a small tooltip before sending people off to a new page seems like a great way to help those customers who only need a few pointers (the tooltip), while still catering to those who need all the help you can offer (the full help article).
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This is used all over the web … and has for a few years.
You’re right, tooltips and “What’s this?” links to full help articles have definitely been used for a long time – it was the combination of the two that struck me as interesting. Using the tooltip as information scent for the full help article and perhaps even sufficient help for the technically inclined.
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