Caption your JQuery Sliders

I recently had a client who wanted a rating scale control on their site. The perfect choice was the JQuery Slider control. I found this very useful, however I was surprised to realise that it does not support value captions. That is, display some kind of indicator to show the selected value of the slider when it changes.

So, I looked around on the web and found a few people who had some ideas. So I decided to use the best of all suggestions and write my own approach.

Firstly, let's see what the slider looks like.

Rating 1 Rating 2
Section 1
Section 2

That code looks like this - StevenWoolston on CodePen.

So, we have a table with sliders inside. The slider won't work yet because we need to configure the div with the class of ui_slider to be a JQuery slider. We do this with javascript. I have commented the code so you can see the logic behind each line.

$(function () {
    // create the tooltip element that will appear onChange. Then hide it
    var tooltip = $("
    var sliderid;
    // create an array of values. Be sure to size the array appropriately to match the <em>max</em> attribute of your slider
    // this is a textual array
    var arrCompText = ["Rating 1", "Rating 2", "Rating 3", "Rating 4"];
    // this is a numeric array
    // var arrCompText = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5];

    // initialise the slider
        value: 2,
        min: 0,
        max: 3,
        step: 1,
        slide: function (event, ui) {
            // this code will fire when the ui-handle is moved
	    // get the elementID of the slider we are moving
            sliderid = $(this).attr("id");
            // set the text attribute of the tooltip element we created earlier to be that of the slider value
            $("#" + sliderid + " #tooltip").text(arrCompText[ui.value]);
        change: function (event, ui) {
            // this code handles the show/hide functionality
            // you could remove the .fadeOut("slow") method if you want the tooltip to stay there after 
            //	  it has been changed. This is actually quite a good practice.
            $("#" + sliderid + " #tooltip").fadeIn('fast').delay(5000).fadeOut("slow");
    // append the tooltip in the correct position relative to the handle position

Now we have a slider and a "tooltip" element that displays whenever we move it. So let's include some CSS to style the tooltip element (created inside the javascript block above).

    position: absolute;
    top: -25px;
    left: -10px;
    height: 25px;
    width: 320px;
    background: #6bc6b7;
    color: #ffffff;
    font-size: 0.8em;
    font-family: comic sans, Arial, Sans-Serif;
    padding: 5px 0px 0px 6px;
    -webkit-border-radius: 10px;
       -moz-border-radius: 10px;
            border-radius: 10px;
    border: 1px solid #d3d3d3;    

That's it. A nicely formatted slider that gives the user feedback based on the slider position.

Til next time...