Contextual help shows a user extra information about the state of either an adjacent component or an entire view. It explains a high-level topic about an experience and can point users to more information elsewhere.
Contextual help can be used to display two types of supplementary content in an experience: in-line information (the info icon) or help and resources to learn more (the help icon).
The popover is positioned in relation to the action button. The placement property values are the following: top, top left, top right, top start, top end, bottom, bottom left, bottom right, bottom start, bottom end, left, left top, left bottom, start, start top, start bottom, right, right top, right bottom, end, end top, end bottom. The default placement value is bottom start.
The offset is the distance between the action button and the popover edge. The default value is 6 px on desktop and 8 px on mobile, but this can be adjusted depending on the context.
The cross offset is the placement offset on the cross axis (x-axis for top and bottom, y-axis for left and right). The default value is 0 px.
To make sure that a popover will stay within certain boundaries (e.g., a browser window) it’s possible to define a container, and a container padding value, to respect. The default value is 8 px.
From the design point of view, each component has a number of options. These options and their names are platform agnostic, and each implementation should adapt these to fit into their framework.
info / help
top / top left / top right / top start / top end / bottom / bottom left / bottom right / bottom start / bottom end / left / left top / left bottom / start / start top / start bottom / right / right top / right bottom / end / end top / end bottom
|6 px (desktop) or 8 px (mobile)|
|popover cross offset|
The title area is reserved for the text that will be the title, or header, of the contextual help. Be sure to use proper formatting.
The body area is reserved for the description, or body text. This is usually a short paragraph and can include a standalone link when appropriate. Be sure to use proper formatting.
A tooltip shows in-line information about the element that a user is hovering or focusing on. Contextual help describes a larger experience, such as something that’s associated with that element in a broader sense. Use contextual help to communicate information about an entire view, rather than a specific element of the experience (e.g., in high-level section headers).
Tooltips are meant for a few words or a short sentence, such as showing the label for an icon-only button. Contextual help offers more space to give more information, or to describe where a user can find further help.
Help text is readily visible, in-line information about a specific UI element. The information in the contextual help component is about an entire experience or view, is hidden within a popover, and only appears once a user interacts with the icon-only action button.
Use help text for critical information that a user needs to know to complete a task. Don’t hide essential information in contextual help; it’s intended to supplement the experience with minimal disruption.
Contextual help can be used to explain why a component is disabled and how to enable it. Don’t make disabled components interactive (with focus states or hovering) as a way to display contextual information.
The content within the contextual help’s popover reflects the icon it’s associated with: either the info icon or the help icon.
Use the info icon for informative content: specific, brief, and contextual guidance. This is best for supplemental or nice-to-know information, in-line with a label or a component (if there is no label). The content should be instructive in tone.
Use the help icon for helpful content: more detailed, in-depth guidance about a task, UI element, tool, or keyboard shortcuts. This may include an image, video, or link and should be helpful in tone.
For this component, don’t add a period to the end of the title. A question mark is acceptable, depending on the context.
For the description, add a period to the end of the sentence, even if it’s only a single sentence.
If using a standalone link, do not add punctuation to the end of the link text.
If using a standalone link, make sure that the landing experience is intuitive, helpful, and naturally builds upon the information being introduced in the component. For example, don’t link to an external sales website unless the information there is directly related to a user being able to do something within the product.
A generic “Learn more” can be acceptable, but it’s more helpful to include another word or two in the link text that gives more context about the landing experience.
|Space or Enter||Opens the popover.|
|Esc||Closes the popover and moves focus back to the action button.|
|Apr 06, 2022||2.0.0|
|Mar 21, 2022||1.1.0|
|Sep 23, 2021||1.0.1|
|Sep 09, 2021||1.0.0|
Includes all interactive states that are applicable (hover, down, focus, keyboard focus, disabled).
Works properly across all four color themes (lightest, light, dark, darkest).
Includes a desktop scale (UWP, macOS, web desktop) and a mobile scale (iOS, Android, web mobile).
Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information (WCAG 2.0 1.4.1).
Text has a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 for small text and at least 3:1 for large text (WCAG 2.0 1.4.3).
Visual information required to identify components and states (except inactive components) has a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 (WCAG 2.1 1.4.11).
UI language and information design considerations have been incorporated into component design.
Includes relevant options (variant, style, size, orientation, optional iconography, decorations, selection, error state, etc.)
Includes guidelines for keyboard focus, layout (wrapping, truncation, overflow), animation, interactions, etc.
Includes a list of dos and don'ts that highlight best practices and common mistakes.
Includes content standards or usage guidelines for how to write or format in-product content for the component.
Works properly across various locales and includes guidelines for bi-directionality (RTL).
Follows WCAG 2.0 standards for keyboard accessibility guidelines and includes a description of the keyboard interactions.
All design attributes (color, typography, layout, animation, etc.) are available as design tokens.
Includes a downloadable XD file that shows multiple options, states, color themes, and platform scales.
Includes a downloadable XD file, generated by code using design tokens defined in Spectrum DNA, and shows multiple options, states, color themes, and platform scales.
Component is included in the Spectrum for Adobe XD plugin.