Inline Help Box

Problem summary

The user needs assistive information located close to the interaction they are about to perform.


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Document your interface in-line with descriptive help blocks. If important information needs to be communicated to the user, it can be easily explained with an inline help box located above or below the main content of a screen.

The inline help box needs to be differentiated from normal content. As the help box itself is not part of the main functionality, it is a good idea to add a style to it that visually separates the help box from that functionality. An easy way to do this is by applying another background and font color to the help box.

Additionally, to avoid the user’s discontent with the help box, a great feature of the in-line help box is to have a “hide this box” functionality. Once the user has clicked this link, the help box will never be shown to the user again.

However, you might want to provide an option for the user to re-enable all help boxes, to allow the user to get that first-hand help that he or she started out getting.


Providing your users with assistive information, located close to an interaction, makes accessing and consuming instructional info simple and easy. In Line help boxes are far more engaging than reading disconnected FAQ’s or help sections.

By allowing the user to easily close/hide each help box, the user is not bothered with unnecessary information once it has been understood.


Do you need to use this pattern in your project?

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