Overlaying User Help Over GUI
So I have a fairly complex GUI and I would like to overlay suggestions to the users while they are using it (their option to show the suggestions or not). Basically, a sort of tutorial thingy where the suggestions can guide the user to interact with the GUI. My problem is that I'm not sure how to do this.
The first thing I investigated is Tool-Tips, but it seems like those need to be attached to components that the user will hover over to activate. I want them to be able show up regardless of where the user's mouse is on the screen (provided of course the checkbox for activating/deactivating this feature is checked).
The next thing I investigated was glass panes, but it is to my understanding that they need to be the size of the container and they block users from interacting with the GUI; two traits that will defeat the purpose of this.
I'm looking to do something similar to the little Microsoft Word Paperclip Guy, but with just text to explain to the user what to do. Does anyone have any suggestions for me?
Re: Overlaying User Help Over GUI
You're on the right track.
You could use a glass pane without blocking input. This is a really useful article: A well-behaved GlassPane | Java.net
After you follow that tutorial, you can either set its tool tip (and tool tip location) to whatever you want. Or you could display something that's a bit more flashy. Glass panes free you up to do pretty much whatever you want.
You might also want to look into a library called BalloonTip: Balloon tip - Project home page — Java.net