The hover and click should match

This principle seems obvious, but there are too many interfaces that violate it. Thus, a blog post.

If an interface element exhibits some hover effect, the element should be clickable. If an element is clickable, it should exhibit some hover effect. The element’s hover and click areas should match down to a pixel.

Here are some of the mistakes I’ve seen:

  • A website main menu is composed of links, each wrapped into a container. The containers style includes a hover highlight. The containers are slightly bigger that the links because of paddings. Within the paddings themselves, the highlighting works, but the links do not.
  • A link underlining is implemented so that clicking precisely at the line itself does not cause the link activation even though there is a hover effect. In some cases, it happens the other way around, too: there is no hover effect, but clicking works.
  • To dismiss a modal popup dialog, you can just click outside of it. When the dialog is shown, the hover effect of the elements around it continue to work, even though clicking them will just dismiss the popup and not trigger the associated action.
  • An element’s action is disabled by a script, but the hover effect remains. For example, a form’s submit button is disabled because of an incorrect value in some field, however is still reacts to a hover as if it worked.
  • A large box with a picture and a heading is clickable as a whole and exhibits some hover effect. In the box’s corner, there is a small icon that does something else, say, adds the object to “Favourites”. When hovering the icon, the box’s hover effect remains, even though clicking the icon will not trigger the action, associated with the box itself.
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 446   4 mon   feedback   user interface
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