Imagine a user who is filling out your form to buy your product. They suddenly come across a field they have questions about. The good news is that you have a help tip next to the field to answer their question. The bad news is that it opens on mouse click, instead of hover. If your help tips open on mouse click, you could make users worry about losing their information.
Fear of Leaving the Form
Many users are afraid of help tips that open on mouse click because they expect the link to take them to another page away from the form. The user has just spent their time filling out a large part of the form. The last thing they want is to lose all the information they entered by clicking a link that takes them off that page.
Even though the link opens the help tip in a pop-up window, the user doesn’t know this. To them, links are affordances used to navigate to another page. When they see a link, that’s what they’re thinking and they don’t want to take the risk. This can either make them skip the help tip or forget about filling out the form altogether.
Your help tips should open on mouse hover for many reasons. When users hover over a help tip, it instantly shows. They don’t have to debate whether clicking the link will take them to another page or not. Therefore, there’s no fear of losing their current information. Help tips are usually short and compact that opening them on hover is more efficient than opening them in a pop-up window.
After a pop-up window opens, the user has to close it so that they can continue filling out the form. This not only takes effort for users to do, but it takes their attention away from the form. A help tip that opens on mouse hover easily closes when the user moves their mouse off it. Help tips on mouse hover don’t just subdue user fears, they’re quicker and easier to use too.
Accessibility of Mouse Hovers
A mouse hover is different from a mouse click, but you can make it accessible too. To create a hover effect, you would typically use the onMouseOver event handler. However, this is not enough for keyboard users. They need the onFocus and onBlur event handlers with it as well. These event handlers allow users to trigger mouse hovers with their keyboard. Visit the links below to learn more.
As users fill out your form, they should feel comfortable every step of the way. If they need help with a form field, your help tips should open on mouse hover so they don’t have to worry about leaving the form and losing their information. Users need to be free of fear and doubt when they fill out forms.