Using plugin pointers, much like pointing, is rarely appropriate
WordPress introduced pointers just a couple versions of WordPress ago. They’ve pretty quickly gained adoption by some popular plugins. I hesitantly link to this post on Paulund that shows you how to make a plugin pointer, because I think they’re very rarely appropriate. Like pointing in real life, pointers in plugins can easily be rude, distracting, inconsiderate, or just not the best choice. If you make a plugin pointer, please ensure there is not a better way to express your, well, point.
Personally I have never seen a single implementation of points that I felt was well done.
I agree with you, that they should rarely be used. I skimmed the article and jumped to the comments, and noticed they mentioned Yoast as one they like. His implementations is one of the ones I dislike the most. I once activated his plugin and was greeted with two overlapping pointers. I was so annoyed I started grabbing screenshots for a ranting blog post, but never published it. So, thanks for saying this.
I agree 100% the pointers can be really annoying. A perfect example is the recently-ish updated WordPress SEO plugin, if you’ve used it, you know exactly what I mean. Pissed off a lot of people from what I saw on social media networks.
Yoast is a perfect example of a need to rethink all those options. I feel like pointers are a developer solution to a design problem.
As a designer I can write php and most devs will laugh at it, its not pretty but it gets the job done. The same is true when the rolls are reversed.
I agree that they are very annoying in most uses. Before sending a site for review, I’ll log in as them to clear out the pointers if we have a plugin that overuses them (WordPress SEO).
But there is one way I do use them. If I want a client to do a specific thing when they log into their site for the first time, I’ll use a pointer. My only real use case here is my Password Pointer plugin. I create a random, strong password for clients and encourage them to change it. Most clients don’t know where they can do this, so I have a pointer to show them.
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