Our recent usability test showed conclusively that the biggest obstacle to using help is the fact that the Help window keeps disappearing. It would be much better to let it float on top (in front of all other windows), so users could keep it in view while they follow instructions. Even if this can be done only when the window is opened from the Help window or from nonmodal dialogs, it would be a huge improvement. Ideally it would also be good to be able to keep the Help window both nonmodal and floating when opened from a modal dialog, as well.
nominating for nsbeta1+, marking adt1
Priority: -- → P2
Target Milestone: --- → mozilla1.0
Would be great! marking new
Status: UNCONFIRMED → NEW
Ever confirmed: true
Sorry, this is on the "new feature" side of things, and it's late to add this for beta. It's not a stop ship, which is what we should be considering at this point for fixes to beta. Marking minus for now. Let's try to get a handle on what it would take to implement. Because of the great usability win, and on the assumption that implementation is not too difficult and impact elsewhere is minimal (born out by testing), we might be able to get this in for rtm. Once we understand the impact better (awaiting answers to that in separate email thread), I'll mark appropriately (with new milestone, etc.).
It sounds like Steve meant to nsbeta1- this. Removing [adt1] to get it off the radar. If I misread the last comment and this ends up being a plus, please add the impact back.
So, has this missed the rtm boat, too? It's probably easy to do on Windows. Let me see if I can figure it out.
Blake--any luck here? I haven't looked at it myself, but this is waxing in importance as an improvement to the help system.
mpt was actively trying to wontfix a generic version of this bug. but this is a reasonable justification for the feature.
You want to add "alwaysRaised" to the window.open flags in extensions/help/resources/content/contextHelp.js. That is, <window.open(MOZ_HELP_URI + "?" + encodedURI, "_blank", <"chrome,menubar,toolbar,dialog=no,resizable,scrollbars"); -- >window.open(MOZ_HELP_URI + "?" + encodedURI, "_blank", >"chrome,menubar,toolbar,dialog=no,resizable,scrollbars,alwaysRaised"); This works on Windows and Mac OS9 (and I believe on OSX as well (can't check that right now, ugh, did I screw up my Mac build)) but unfortunately this isn't implemented on Linux.
Marking nsbeta1+ for Buffy and re-setting milestone.
Keywords: nsbeta1 → nsbeta1+
Target Milestone: mozilla1.0 → mozilla1.2beta
See also bug 161342 (help loads as modal window from Publish dialog [help] button).
Created attachment 96315 [details] [diff] [review] floating window patch unfortunately, I only have a linux build with me here, but I will test this further at home. thanks a lot, dan. will want to get this r/sr'd for check-in ASAP.
Comment on attachment 96315 [details] [diff] [review] floating window patch I am kind of reviewing my own code but between the two of us there should be warm bodies enough for an r=. Now the trick is implementing this on linux...
ACCEPTING. But do we want this behavior all the time--like when you open the Help window directly from the Help menu in the browser? There, the always on top behavior seems a little annoying--and unexpected. Perhaps we could define two functions for getting help, and use this always-on-top one only for context-sensitive help? Is that what we mean that we want?
Status: NEW → ASSIGNED
I'm inclined to want to always have the Help window on top, no matter how you got to it.
Well, that's easier for me. The patch in this bug gets us that behavior. Just need an sr now.
We definitely want Help window on top, always.
Comment on attachment 96315 [details] [diff] [review] floating window patch sr=alecf
Attachment #96315 - Flags: superreview+
Marking as FIXED (since it is fixed on windows/mac and there is no easy way to do it on linux)
Status: ASSIGNED → RESOLVED
Last Resolved: 17 years ago
Resolution: --- → FIXED
Status: RESOLVED → VERIFIED
Re Description: > Our recent usability test showed conclusively that the biggest obstacle to > using help is the fact that the Help window keeps disappearing. It would be > much better to let it float on top (in front of all other windows), so > users could keep it in view while they follow instructions. Right: *let* it float on top, but don't *make* it float on top--make it an option, on by default, that users can turn off. As for usability tests, don't test only with novice users! Re: > We definitely want Help window on top, always. No, not always--only when the user wants it that way.
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