Making graphics with tooltips more helpful for the user

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Making graphics with tooltips more helpful for the user

Postby sjensen on Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:12 pm

I am working on a Web Help project in which I am adding screen shots to Help topics. I have begun to use Flare's Image Map feature to define areas within a screenshot where I want to point out and provide a tooltip on what this or that does or how to use it. In the editor screen where you define the rectangular area and the tooltip, there are options to make the area you are defining as the hyperlinked region--either show or hide the border, or show or hide shading in that area. However, when I preview the topic, the tooltip displays just fine, but the shading and border display doesn't work; it appears this only shows up while you're in the editing window, which to me seems more or less useless. What I need is either the border or the shaded area to be displayed as the user hovers around over the graphic in the Help topic. This way they would be able to see exactly what portion of the screenshot the tooltip refers to. Without any sort of highlighting happening for the user, the value of displaying the tooltip becomes much less useful. Does anyone know how to make this work, or is there another solution?
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Re: Making graphics with tooltips more helpful for the user

Postby LTinker68 on Wed Sep 03, 2008 3:33 pm

The shading in the editor is just so you can see the hotspot areas so that you don't inadvertently overlap them, since websites can't handle overlapping hotspots.

The only way to get type of effect you want is to use Javascript (or similar code) to swap images when you hover over a specific spot. Say you have six different areas you want to highlight -- you'd have 7 graphics that you'd need to make. One graphic would have nothing highlighted (the default view), another graphic would have just area 1 highlighted, another graphic would have just area 2 highlighted, and so on. (You'd have to add the highlight effect yourself to each graphic -- basically just add a slightly transparent color overlay over the area of interest.)

The Javascript (or other) code would then swap the default graphic with the appropriate graphic, depending on where the cursor is. Unfortunately, Flare doesn't have an easy way to add Javascript to a topic file. You'd have to open the topic in the Internal Text Editor and add the Javascript and image map calls manually.

Another option would be to use popup topics that describe what that area of the screen does. I wrote up some instructions on how you can do this in Flare using custom popup window sizes, but again, it requires you to modify the topic's backend code to get it to work. Details are here ->

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