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GitHub's practical tooltips

Bringing together over 31 million users with collaboration tools, centralized and open version control and issue management, and a marketplace of helpful apps, GitHub has created a unique platform for developers at all different experience levels.

The downside to such an extensive platform, however, is that it can be overwhelming for some new users who may not have prior experience with version control tools. While an extensive onboarding tutorial might be helpful for new users, it would frustrate an experienced developer who might already be familiar with the tools. Likewise, leaving users to find their own way around the app without any guidance also doesn't make for a great experience.

GitHub solves this problem by using an extensive set of helpful tooltips. The tooltips highlight new features, provide links to related support articles, and give helpful tips so users can get more value from the platform. Appearing only when needed, the tooltips provide targeted advice and suggestions without being intrusive.

Why this is Really Good UX:

  • GitHub's tooltips are a discreet way to provide information to users, quickly providing value before making it easy to get them out of the way.
  • By only appearing when needed, the tooltips are able to provide valuable information at the most helpful time for the user within the context of the task they're trying to perform. This makes it easier to absorb the information and remember it next time they are performing the same task.
  • GitHub keeps their tooltips short, breaking information into easily readable body copy and frequently using emojis to grab users' attention. They also make it quick and easy to access more extensive guidance by linking directly to support articles within the tooltips.

Screenshots captured 1/4/19