Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bless their hearts award #09-1

I plan to start awarding designs in user assistance that I feel are well-intentioned but wrong. The purpose is not to ridicule (OK, ridicule a little) but to show how best intentions are not enough to make a good user assistance experience. The following screen capture is from an non-disclosed calendar application. Note the tool tip/Alt tag.

The problem is that it describes the icon when it should have explained the icon. I have no idea why this icon is on that entry or what it means. The description that it is an icon of a person waving his hand does not help the sighted reader, nor does it work as an Alt tag for a blind reader. Neither knows what it means.

The writers knew that an icon needs an Alt tag and provided a very accurate one. Bless their hearts.

1 comment:

MattBNH said...

A fun idea as long as you never get to look at any of my work.

My guess though is that this one wasn't written by a UA writer, but rather the icon designer, and the description was in an image property that got picked up by the build. We had some instances where tooltips read "default tool tip for property" because no one told the engineers that the property would be exposed in the ui, and that they oughta talk to a writer if they didn't want to write something useful themselves.