In-field Help Note Version 2.0.0.0Print this Page
Embedded Help Pattern Set
 
Description
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Use in-field help notes to clarify the information that users should enter into editable fields. The help content enables users to successfully enter the correct data in the field so that they are less likely to encounter data-entry errors. An in-field help note can also inform users about how data will be used or the downstream effect of data entered.

In-field help notes do not provide a definition for a field. Use the Terminology Definition pattern for that purpose.

Use in-field help notes for:

  • Standalone check boxes
  • Multiselect check box groups
  • Single-select option button groups
  • Items in true/false option button or check box groups

Note: Do not use in-field help notes for:

  • Items in single-select option button groups
  • Items in multiselect check box groups
  • True/false option button or check box groups (no alternative help, except a terminology definition on the prompt)

You can use in-field help notes with the user interface (UI) components shown in the following table.

 
Pattern Set Decision Table
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Static Instruction Text

In-field Help Note

Terminology Definition

Bubble Help

User Assistance Popup

Valid UI components that use this type of help
  • Page header
  • Subheader
  • Sub-subheader
  • Standalone check box
  • Multiselect check box group
  • Single-select choice list
  • Multiselect choice list
  • Single-select list box
  • Multiselect list box
  • Text box
  • Single-select radio groups
  • Items in true/false radio groups
  • Items in true/false check box groups
  • Color picker
  • Date/time picker
  • Flexfield
  • LOV
  • Spin box
  • Slider
  • File upload
  • Shuttle
  • Rich Text Editor
  • Check box prompt
  • Check box group prompt
  • Single-select choice list
  • Multiselect choice list
  • Single-select list box
  • Multiselect list box
  • Text box
  • Option group prompt
  • Color picker
  • Date/time picker
  • Flexfield
  • LOV
  • Column headers
  • Spin box
  • Slider
  • File upload
  • Shuttle
  • Rich Text Editor
  • Icon buttons
  • Button
  • Link
  • Tab
  • Page header
  • Subheader
  • Sub-subheader
  • Tab
  • Dashboard region
Does the user need help understanding the effects of entering a value or leaving the component blank?

N

Y

N

N

N

Does the user need a detailed description of what the UI component means or does?

N

N

Y

Y

N

Does the user need help understanding what to do on a page or within a header region?

Y

N

N

N

Y

Does the user require in-depth assistance or need to explore more information?

N

N

N

N

Y

How long is the help text, including spaces?

Less than or equal
to two lines
(of local area width) or 400 characters

Less than or equal to 160 characters

Less than or equal to 80 characters

Less than or equal to 80 characters

Less than or equal to 400 characters, icnluding optional links to nonembedded help

 
Design Considerations
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  • In-field help notes must not duplicate the Application Development Framework (ADF) converter or validator components hints for number ranges, character lengths, date ranges/validity, date and time formats, required fields (for a single field only), and so on. See the FusionGPS ADF validator and converter hints page for details. When, additional, explanatory in-field help is necessary on fields with ADF validator and converter hints, the help appears after the ADF-provided hint text (figure 5).
  • To provide help using the appropriate help component, understand what type of check box or option that a developer is planning to use. Read the Check Box Usage Guideline to understand the distinction between true/false check boxes and multi-select check boxes. Read the Radio Group Usage Guideline to understand the distinction between true/false option groups and single-select option groups.
  • Avoid using an in-field help note in a table cell if the table supports multiple rows in which the in-field help note would appear repeatedly. Consider rewriting the help using the static instruction text, terminology definition, or user assistance popup pattern. (Remember that you must change the goal of the help if you change the help pattern.)
  • In-field help notes appear when users move their cursor over the component for 400 ms. This amount of time is defined by the browser and is not under team control. In-field help notes are dismissed when users move their cursors to other fields on the screen. The following table explains the different controls options:

Component Name

On Hover

On Focus

Check Box

X

X

Single and Multiselect Choice List

X

X

Single and Multiselect List Box

X

X

Text Box and Area

 

X

Option Button

X

X

Spin Box

 

X

Color Picker

 

X

Date-Time Picker

 

X

Slider

X

 

List of Values

 

X

 

Required Screen Elements

Component Type

Required Components

Customizable or Extendable Components

Note window

Text embedded in a note window to provide field-level help, activated when users give focus or hover over the component

Not applicable

   
Pattern Sample
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The following types of information may be conveyed by an in-field help note:

Formatting Information

Data entry validation information, such as for date formats.

Figure 1. In-field help note with example date format

Field Restrictions

Range and other restrictions information, such as for numbers.

In-Field Help Note with Number Range Restriction
Figure 2. In-field help note with number range restrictions

Downstream Informational

Users may need to know how the data will be used downstream as it may affect their user experience.

In-Field Help Note about How Data Will Be Used Later
Figure 3. In-field help note about how data will be used later

Immediate Informational

Users may need to know what information to enter in the field.

In-Field Help Note about What To Enter in a Field
Figure 4. In-field help note explaining what to enter in a field

Immediate Informational with ADF Validator or Converter Hint

In-field help notes may also be combined with ADF converter and validator hint text, providing further information.

In-Field Help Note Combined with ADF Validator Hint
Figure 5. In-field help note combined with ADF validator hint
Related Documentation
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Help Usage Guideline Describes ways that help appear in the Rich Client User Experience-based UI
 
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