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FYI: A Note about this Website’s Use of Hover Boxes

A hover box is a type of pop-up window that appears when the cursor (usually controlled by a mouse) for a desktop/laptop/notebook computer is placed over a trigger point on the screen for a short period of time, without clicking. Because the box that pops up in the foreground of the screen does not scroll with the Web page (thus giving the appearance of “hovering” over the page), it can be problematic when viewed on smaller screens.

One fix for this is to size hover boxes to display reliably on a wide range of Internet-enabled devices, as do most online advertisers (click/tap here to learn more about hover ads at Wikipedia).

Because I use hover boxes for scholarly notes of variable lengths (the online equivalent of footnotes) — not for ads of a fixed size — there is no optimal one-size-fits-all hover box I can use. As a result, longer hover notes that exceed the height of your screen may only partially display, and you may not be able to access the complete note by other means, without delving into the source code. This is a known problem, even for relatively large computer screens, and for browsers such as Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which now (June 2018) offer the best support for viewing hover boxes on desktop/laptop/notebook computers.

When working properly, a Roses​.Communicating​By​Design​.com “hover” note will display whenever you mouse over (or tap on) the associated underlined text which calls it. This calling text (or trigger) looks like any other link, but behaves differently: it is not “clickable,” and when you hover over it on a computer, your default cursor will change to an arrowhead with a subscripted ? (question mark), rather than the familiar pointer which appears when you normally follow hyperlinks.

(N O T E :  On smartphones or other touch screens, there is no cursor, so you can not hover over the trigger text, but must instead tap on the underlined link to get the hover box to display.)

Unfortunately, the most popular browser in the world today, Google Chrome,

As of 2018, StatCounter estimates that Google Chrome has a 66% worldwide usage share of web browsers as a desktop browser. It also has 56% market share across all platforms combined, because it has over 50% share on smartphones; and thus Chrome is [the] most used browser in virtually all countries (most exceptions in Africa).

(Wikipedia, s.v. Google Chrome, unpaginated; accessed 4/25/2018)

no longer displays hover boxes at all on desktop/laptop/notebook computers (running under the Windows OS) — nor is there any change to the cursor when you hover over the trigger text, indicating that this is an informational, rather than navigational, link designed to trigger a pop-up event. Indeed, there is no feedback at all to help a Chrome user understand why some normal-seeming links on a Web page aren’t clickable, while others are. Even more unfortunate, there are no settings that I know of which Chrome users can adjust to fix the problem.


Changing your Chrome browser settings from Block pop-ups to Allow pop-ups for Roses​.Communicating​By​Design​.com does not appear to have any effect on the display of hover boxes.
   If there are any power users of Chrome out there who know some work-around for Google Chrome’s inability to properly display hover boxes on desktop/laptop/notebook computers, please let me know, so that I can post and/or address it here.

For complex Web pages such as the revised & enlarged Editor’s Introduction for Roses’ digital reissue (2014) of Thomas Tryon’s The Planter’s Speech to his Neighbours & Country-Men of Pennsylvania, East & West-Jersey (first published at London in 1684), Chrome’s (and Opera’s) lack of support for its many content-rich hover notes — designed to be read in tandem with the text of the 320+KB HTML page they complement — can ruin the whole carefully-crafted online “experience.” But even when browsers like Firefox and MSIE can display the hover notes as intended, there are additional issues with the delivery of ephemeral content which can not be printed or directly accessed in the usual way. E.g., while search engines will index the content of a hover box (because it is part of the Web page’s HTML source code), you cannot go to that content directly using a browser’s Find command (keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+F) in normal display mode.

To compensate for these shortcomings, I will sometimes extract the hover notes for a Web page — if there are enough of them with substantive content — and cluster them (like end-notes) on a separate HTML page, which opens in a small, floating second window, the content of which you can scroll, capture, copy, and print.

If such a page of end-notes exists, there will be a link for it at the bottom of the text column for the Web page you’re viewing.

And, when I consider a Web page’s hover notes important enough to warrant it, I will add an alert (with a redundant link to the page of end-notes) for visitors at the top of the trigger page, as with the Editor’s Introduction to Thomas Tryon’s The Planter’s Speech.

Test case

The following note (hover note No. 2),

“The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions.” — This is a modern adaptation of the earlier English proverb, Hell is full of good intentions, which a mid-17th-century polyglot collection of proverbs (Paroimiographia. Proverbs, or, Old Sayed Sawes & Adages in English (or the Saxon Toung), Italian, French, and Spanish, whereunto the British for their Great Antiquity and Weight Are Added ..., London, 1659) classified as Spanish in origin, giving two slightly different versions of it: “De buenas intenciones esta lleno el infierno.” and “El Infierno es lleno de buenas intenciones.” Here it is glossed: “Quiere dezir, que no ay pecador por malo que sea, que no tenga intencion de meiorar la vida, mas la muerte le sobreprende. / This proverb signifies, that there’s no sinner how bad soever, but hath an intention to better his life, although death doth surprise him.” (James Howell, Paroimiographia, 1659, “Proverbs, or Adages in the Spanish Toung ... in Portuguez, Catalan, and Gallego ...,” 29)
   A later collection of English proverbs obscures its Spanish origins, and documents subtle shifts in meaning with the new Anglicized adage: “Hell is full of good meanings and wishes.” (John Ray, A Collection of English Proverbs ... Whereunto Are Added Local Proverbs ... and Scottish Proverbs ... and an Appendix of Hebrew Proverbs ..., 2nd rev. edn., 1678, p. 13)
   There were multiple riffs on this early English version of the Spanish proverb, such as by the physician Richard Whitlock (b. 1616), who wrote in his Zoötomia, or a Morall Anatomy of the Living by the Dead (London, 1654), “It is a saying among Divines, that Hell is full of good Intentions, and Meanings; but I think it may be inverted; good Meanings rather pretended than intended, are ful of Hel, and Mischiefe." (Whitlock, 203)
   I do not know when the metaphor of a paved road was added to the Anglicized proverb, shifting the meaning once again from an emphasis on the perils of delayed, well-intended action (in quest of salvation) to an emphasis on well-intended actions with dire consequences. ::

copied from our FYI page on The Growing Body of Evidence Connecting Cancers to the Modern Retail Economy, makes a good test case.

This note is longer than optimum, and does not fully display (the closing :: symbol indicates when you have reached the end of a hover note) on the smaller screens of my notebook computer and mobile phone. One possible fix for this is to reposition the calling text for a hover note at the top of your display device’s screen before you hover over or tap on it. Alternatively, you can try hovering over or tapping on a different area of the calling text (for example, in this case, try hovering/tapping on Road versus Good versus Intentions) to see if changing the note’s display position causes it to resize so that the complete text of the hover note displays.

For those cases where the hover note is so long that such tricks won’t work (or if you just want to see all the hover notes for a Web page clustered together in a single location, like end notes, on a Web page you can print), check towards the close of text for a notice with link to a separate page of end notes. For this test case, there is a “click/tap here” link for viewing “all 6 of this Web page’s hover notes in a second-window aside” located right above the ornamental Roses tail-piece at the bottom of the FYI page.

You can also always access all second-window aside pages with end notes from the sitemap for this website. In this case, see the Table of Contents link for the page with hover notes clustered as end notes for “our FYI page on the subject of Cancer and Modern Consumerism.”

Panel from "Roses", a mixed-media work by Tuck Contreras

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