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I am developing a Java Swing application, and I want to improve the UI so it better guides users to increase their probability of success.

When the UI discovers some fields are not filled, some state is not reached etc. a messagebox pops up telling the user. But this is quite blocking their flow, since it takes away the focus from the application and forces the user to read and acknowledge the message box before they can move on.

So I thought about messages popping up on the side, without the need of being acknowledged and without taking keyboard focus or being modal in any way. This would get quite close to Clippy, the office assistant. Probably a lot of people know this assistant, yet I do not know anyone who actually liked Clippy.

What other ways could there be to improve users' experience without annoying them?

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It is not clear to me that if you want those text fields compulsory to be filled or we can skip if we want to. If those fields are going to be a must, then you can solve this problem by using a bottom text message in your input field, you can show any type of text based on the input.

error state

If not, then you can go with a snackbar on the top right or in middle based on the frame of your form. This snackbar is only for representation, you can make it however you like. enter image description here

also do add an "ok" (or anything else) button to close that snackbar.

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  • Hmm, this is a non-intrusive notification style - just not focused around a virtual character like Clippy. But it could do the job. Thank you for bringing up the ovbious...
    – queeg
    Commented Aug 14, 2023 at 11:37

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