Here are some great ideas collected from over the web. The main theme found is being wordy and explicit in the user interface. Instead of old world tedious help files, the UI explains itself as much as possible (click on the pictures to see them in actual size).
In Experts Exchange, when you sign-up, the form checks the user name as-you-type to validate that’s is free.
And a Positive feedback.
There are four positive feedback signs – Green Color on text box,green color on check box, the check box itself and the caption below (“The user name ‘ophirk’ is available” ).
Google Calender has cool feedback as well, their feedback bar is used for positive and negative feedback for just about any action done in the application. This data can also be used for action logging and undo functionality. Parts of the toolbar message contains links to objects related to the action ( e.g. guests ).
Another cool idea by goggle is text interface. If the Subject of the new meeting has “with firstname.lastname@example.org” Google Calender understands Alex is a guest and adds him to the appointment.
LinkedIn has nice tool tips. The old yellow window tool tips were not as helpful as people wanted them to be. There was no indication where tooltips existed, they were too short for helping out and disappeared too quickly.
In this case the tooltip explains not only what the button does, but also the social context of the action.
It seems that leading web consumer sites are influencing Enterprise based applications and the prosumers. Becoming more “wordy” and explicit helps the users grasp the context and implications of the applications.The principles used are not new, but they struck the right balance between helping and annoying the customers.