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We're debating inside our team on whether to use a question mark icon, or an "i" icon for prompting a tooltip that reveals more info.

Which do you say conveys the message better? Or, how do they differ in the message they convey?

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    Is it more information of more help. On this page they have ?. I like ? but you I think you should call it help over information. – paparazzo Sep 29 '14 at 14:33
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The convention is that the question mark indicates extensive help is available, provides an interface for someone having a problem to click, and implies that a more sophisticated means of resolving the problem is being offered. The (i) indicates only that some additional explanatory information is available, but not an extensive help system.

Think of an (i) icon as being analogous to no more than the instruction plate mounted next to an operating control on a machine, and the (?) icon as being analogous to a link to the to the entire system's operating manual, already opened to the relevant page.

For your described use case it sounds like the (i) icon is appropriate.

  • +1 but if you look at this site the ? icon is use for specific help. – paparazzo Sep 29 '14 at 14:44
  • Indeed, (i) and (?) have different semantics. – Alexey Kolchenko Sep 29 '14 at 17:55
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    The Windows Design Guidelines agree with this answer: msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/… – David Sep 29 '14 at 19:58
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    Agree with the answer, but not sure I'd call it a convention though noting how many sites do not follow it. – David Mulder Sep 29 '14 at 22:14
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    A convention isn't defined by the exceptions, but by its acceptance. And this is what people expect today. – John Deters Sep 30 '14 at 1:10
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The difference between the symbols as UI element is that, from the perspective of the system, "?" is passive, and "i" is active:

With the "?", the system offers the information to the user, that he needs when he has a question.

With the "i", the system offers the additional information to the user, that may be useful even when he does not have a question.

So "i" is the right one to use if you have information that

  • the user would not ask for, because he's not missing it
  • is useful for a user who is interested in the details.
  • You didn't mention an i – CodesInChaos Sep 30 '14 at 12:09
  • Oops, need coffee, thanks ;) Edited "!" to "i". – Volker Siegel Sep 30 '14 at 12:14

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