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Issue 13.6 ('Stay Out of Jail')
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A Simple Hint System

Nagging your users without being annoying

Issue: 13.6 (November/December 2015)
Author: Markus Winter
Author Bio: Markus is a Molecular Biologist who taught himself REALbasic programming in 2003 to let the computer deal with some exceedingly tedious lab tasks. Some call it lazy, he thinks it smart. He still thinks of himself as an advanced beginner at best.
Article Description: n>No description availabl
Article Length (in bytes): 12,833
Starting Page Number: r>
Article Number: 13602
Resource File(s):

Download Icon 13602project.zip Updated: 2015-11-03 14:44:40

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Excerpt of article text...

Users hate reading manuals. Mac users are actually famous for not reading manuals. So what is a developer to do to help users get to grips with a new app and reduce unwanted support questions? The developer needs to give the user some help and hold their hand, so to speak.

In theory, ToolTips are the answer. But they're annoying: when you want them, it seems to take ages for them to pop up, and then they disappear before you have a chance to read it all, so you need to wiggle the mouse to get them back. And when you don't want them, they pop up anyway, and prevent you from reading what's beneath.

Notifications are even more intrusive and many users turn them off for everything but the most important services.

Then there is also the nagging to consider: you want to nudge users into paying for your app. Nag screens on start-up used to be popular, but they've gone out of fashion. Users hate having to wait for the app to be ready, so they may just go for a competitor's app. And interrupting a user's work-flow is a complete no-go. So when to nag? And where?

Fortunately, all these problems can be solved with a simple label.

Imagine an InfoText label on your window. Whenever the mouse pointer enters a control, be it a TextArea, a PopupMenu, a PushButton, or any other control, then you set the text of the InfoText label next to the text you want to display.

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