I have a list of lessons and I don't want to confuse the user with a long description (lots of text) for each lesson.

So someone suggested having something like a tooltip (to the right of (nouns) in the screen shot).

But on a touch screen I'm wondering how I can have the user move/select other lessons to get the tooltip for them.

Update: There will potentially be dozens of items in Mastered and Passed, and possibly dozens in In Progress (although that would be the "Teachers version"). And the students have communication difficulties, and may not be able to read well. So I'm trying to keep the lesson names short.

Some options:

  1. Maybe put a drag bar ( [...] looking thing on the top of the popup and they can drag it up or down.
  2. If they touch to the right of the Lesson name it moves to that lesson. This is tricky b/c if they click on the lesson name they'll jump to that lesson.

Any other suggestions?

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2 Answers 2


You have hidden information first and trying to invent some interaction to return it back.

Maybe the problem somewhere in information design. The better solution could be to provide an abstract for each lesson. Having a lot of lessons you could group it by some meaningful way.

Assuming user constraints (speech, reading, movement difficulties) I think you should choose other way of organizing your software.

I think you should provide minimal physical and mental efforts for users to use the software. Interaction like tooltips requires precise movements, giving more control to a user. So there is balance between simplicity and control. In your case you could consciously shift the balance to simplicity side as this is requirement.

You could organize the lessons in your course as a rigid structure. Probably you need help of doctors and pedagogs to create optimal structure. So the course will lead the user, but the way will be optimal. As a result users will pass through the course with minimal efforts, passing each time to the next element with just a few control over system.

Futher, for every patient or typical case the structure could be build individually by specialist. This is where your system is flexible.

Again, the solution is more abstract, at the information architecture level, not screen layouts.

Some layouts:
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  • Very valid point. The Cure maybe worse than the Disease<g>. I was trying to lower cognitive load for the user (by showing only short Lesson names). See my update: many users can't read well. BUT maybe I just need to include the descriptions a lighter (gray, etc.) text so that they can easily scan the NAME and ignore the description if they want to. Commented Sep 19, 2013 at 11:53
  • Your answer addresses my goal but no this particular question (turns out maybe my question was wrong :) Commented Sep 19, 2013 at 11:53
  • @ClayNichols I've read your update and watched your site in profile. Please, take a look at my answer, I've updated it. Commented Sep 19, 2013 at 14:37
  • : yes, we made the same assessment and that's what the program does. When they finish a lesson there is normally a default [Continue] with <lesson name> button, but there is an option for [Different Lesson] and that takes them to the screen you see. That screen is used more by the HELPER (an able bodied person that might help them turn on the computer, get started, etc.) but we'd like to keep it simple for the both the helper and the user. Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 13:42
  • again: this is a good answer to the GOAL, but not for THIS question. I may just reframe the question focused on the GOAL. (Just explaining why I'm not marking this the "accepted answer" at this time. Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 13:44

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Below is my attached suggestion. Hope it's self explainable.


  • Simon, that's a good idea but (see my update) it requires the user read a whole sentence. However, if I combined your "Course Info" with the tooltip I already have (which makes it fairly clearly that the info is applying to the currently selected lesson (especially if we highlighted it) then we don't need the explanatory text. Commented Sep 19, 2013 at 11:51

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