I want to display a tooltip on a follow button to explain how notifications will be distributed.

I don’t know if it’s a clean design or if I should find another way to explain the action. What are the pros and cons of using a tooltip like this from a usability perspective?

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  • Please bear in mind that executing this design approach to comply with certain legal requirements, such as ADA, might take significant time. I would recommend spelling out important page content without having it appear only via interaction with specific page element, that would be best practices. – Max Tokman Jun 25 at 15:52
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    In terms of working out the pros and cons for the tooltip, what would be the alternate strategy if you don't use a tooltip? – Michael Lai Jun 30 at 23:36

I think it depends on the button:

  • If the button is too obvious as the button to close a modal window I don't think it's necessary.
  • If the button is to clarify an immediate operation it can be useful. In fact this page has tooltips on all its buttons:

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If the website may be used in mobile, tooltips may not be a good solution since most are initiated by some kind of hover.

If the information can be conveyed after the button is clicked, perhaps a toast notification could help. This provides an immediate notification upon interaction which will likely satisfy the user, but be passive enough to ignore if so decided.

If not, maybe a label with a dotted underline could be used to indicate to the user that there is a touch opportunity to explain further the function of the button. Clicking the label could pop up a tooltip to explain the consequences of pressing the button, without having to make the choice of clicking the button.

If the button is in only a single (or few) spot(s) in your application/website, perhaps just a brief description next to the button would provide the best user experience. With this option there is no barrier to provide the user with all the relevant information about the actions of the button.


If you're introducing the button as a new element & needs to draw users’ attention you should use tooltip. It will help users to learn. *If the button explains itself clearly, we should not use tooltip.


If the button is a 'key action' for the entire page, then it would probably be more appropriate to have a description alongside the button to clarify what the action will do.

In the case of it being one action amongst many of the same value (importance) ie. the Stack exchange interface button tooltips), then a tooltip makes sense.

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