Contextual Help on Demand

The Contextual Help pattern describes methods to help users navigate the user interface and accomplish their tasks by providing examples, hints, and suggestions within the context of their application (without invoking a separate help interface).  Unlike ordinary labels and prompt text, contextual help is extra guidance focused on helping the user understand what to do next.  It is often dynamic and situational, responding to user input and disappearing when no longer needed.

There are five common forms of contextual help.

Appearance

Appearance characteristics for this pattern.

Empty Section Help

Fixed Text

Page Level Message/Banner

Popup Tooltip

Hint Text

Behavior

Common behaviors for this pattern.


Usage

Usage guidelines for this pattern.

Empty Section Help

Related

Empty Data Set

Fig 1. Empty Data Set

 

Fixed Text

Fig 2. Fixed Text

 

Banner

Fig 3. Page Level Message

 

Tooltip

Fig 4. Popup Tooltip

 

Hint Text

Fig 5. Hint Text