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Thursday, May 24, 2007

SpeedCrunch's tip of the day

Typically, "tip of the day" feature is not really loved. Often, the dialog for showing the tip blocks the main view of the application. Worse, this dialog is even modal, you have to click it to make it disappear.

For SpeedCrunch upcoming version 0.8, I play around with the idea of showing a short tip as a yellowish widget inside the main window. It will disappear automatically after couple of seconds (even with some smooth translucent and animation effect). I'm still thinking whether the tip should be displayed at start up, or only from a menu item.

SpeedCrunch tip of the day

I hope this kind of tip is non-intrusive and yet allows the users to learn a thing or two about SpeedCrunch features.

So, what do you think?

(Yes, I know there is typo in the screenshot :-)


Patrice Tremblay said...

Very good idea!

Anonymous said...

Good idea. Just a minor nitpick: a centered tip looks better.

jerven said...


I think that this is an absolutely brilliant idea. I hope that you implement it.

It does not stop people from starting work however it does allow them to learn something every time the program starts.

Hope it works out,

Thanks for the great calculator tool that is speedcrunch!

Wesley said...

In response to the anonymous fellow: I like the tip at the left top just better than a centered tip

And I would suggest showing the tip by default because otherwise users will just not use it. Just put a checkmark in the Help menu to enable or disable the "Show tip at startup" feature..

I do not like the tip to disappear by itself after a few seconds though. Some people read slow or start reading after a few seconds. And suddenly the tip disappears! Just make it fade away after you start doing something or after you click it. But not automatically.

Anonymous said...

Just a litle thing : why do you wait only 2 seconds ?

You may just wait for the user to start using the app. For speed cruch, as soon as I press enter to get the result, the tip disapear, but it won't disapear if I have not (eventualy) an eye on it first.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! It's so non-intrusive that I would surely suggest using it at startup. Finally a sane TipOTD implementation!!! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

The usability people (Ellen etc) found during user tests that no one is actually reading the Tip of the Day. Every person they tested clicked it away immediately. So it might make sense to simply drop it completely.

Anonymous said...

No Sir, I don't like it. The standared tip dialog places control in the hands of the user, where it belongs. It won't dissappear by itself when the user is in the middle of reading it. What could be more annoying that that? It gives the user a way to say 'don't ever bother me again' without having to hunt for the 'Disable TOD' option is some config dialog.

Changing the tip dialog to be non-modal sounds like a good thing to try. The user can actually try out what the tip is talking about while still seeing it.

I do read the TOD when I first use a program. When I tire of seeing it, it gives me a handy way to disable it.

Leo S said...

Excellent idea. But is it still possible to look at other tips or do you only get one per app startup?

Like others have said, don't hide it until someone starts typing in the equation box.

Anonymous said...

That is one of the ideas of which you think "everybody could have come up with it" afterwards, but nobody has.
So, how about putting this in kdelibs, maybe with a yellow "next tip" button? Tips are good, modal dialogs are bad. Tips in non-modal dialogs are great!

Anonymous said...

Making the yellow square behave like Amarok's statusbar messages ( would be great. The blue bar at the left indicates when the message will fade away. Place your mouse over the box stops the progress bar, the message will not fade. A close button if you want to close it immediately.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant idea. I concur with the amarok comment.

Anonymous said...

great idea! :)
don't make it disappear while I'm reading it; wait until I enter the first calculation.

I've always liked those tips. when I was a kid I'd get carried away and read every single one. :)