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I develop statical finance Web-based software and want to place a description of what histogram or table or chart was shown.

Some charts have complicated calculation logic behind them, so user may want to get brief description on chart calculation algorithms and meaning of filter fields and parameters.

Typical (simplified) interface look like this:

enter image description here

Do I need separate tab for docs or use hiding area? Where should I place it?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You already have two tabs:

  • Plot
  • Table

Just add a third one with nice and well-formatted detailed description:

enter image description here

So you'll have enough room to explain the logic behind the plot keeping UI simple and consistent.

BTW, just for your information, I have quite a strange impression the form on the left can be enhanced :)

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In-place help for quick description could be very demonstrative as it appears in context. So help tab is for long descriptions, in-place help is for brief. Some examples are on the pictures.

Excel shows the cells which affect the selected cell
enter image description here

Ebay explains how feedback is calculated enter image description here

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Very interesting suggestion! Thanks +1 – gavenkoa Jul 30 '13 at 13:51

There is also a more off the wall idea.

Use a wiki, or some other community knowledge base that allows users, designers, programmers etc. to all collaborate solving each others problems in a searchable fashion and with a lot more room to manoever than you will ever get on the page itself.

Jeff Atwood discusses something similar here and suggests this in the last paragraph:

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Good suggestion. We already have corporate wiki. But main reason for in-site documentation - to allow users quickly access to simplified docs without losing working focus and leaving page (which is worse). +1 – gavenkoa Jul 30 '13 at 20:20
fair enough, maybe you could use the wiki as the source and serve up content from it on page? – Toni Leigh Jul 30 '13 at 20:32

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