Code and design examples

We don’t use tooltips

  <strong>We don't use tooltips.</strong>

Why don’t we use tooltips?

If there is important content that is required to understand the UI, the tooltip is a sub optimal approach to helping the user.

Tooltips are indicative of poor UX design.

It often indicates that the design has been backed into a corner it didn’t anticipate, and is now expecting people to do extra work to understand the UI by consuming difficult to find content.

Tooltip acceptance criteria are impossible to define

The specific WAI-ARIA guidance isn’t clear and screen reader implementation will vary, so it’s impossible to create uniform success criteria.

What should I do instead?

Put in the work to design and edit the UI language so that it’s self explanatory on the first pass.

Use your words

Look at the language and ask:

  • Is this information even necessary?
  • If the information was displayed by default, would it meaningfully hurt the experience?
  • Is this the best context to inform people of this information, or should it appear somewhere else?

What if there’s no other way?

If you still have detailed information that needs to be displayed in a limited space, consider putting it in a modal dialog or an expander.

Want to argue about it?

I’m here for you

Related tooltip entries