Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Depreciation Of Hover

One of my favorite effects to use when designing a website is hover. Changing the state of an object, normally a link, when the mouse hovers over it can create pleasing visuals. It can show which items on a page can be interacted with, before the user actually interacts.

Hover is dependent on a mouse though. A touchscreen has no way of telling if your finger is hovering over a link until said finger actually touches it. And since touching equates to clicking, there's no way to effectively display the hover. If you touch and hold down, it will appear, along with whatever active effect the designer has built in (active is the state when clicked), but most users just tap and go, and so never see the hover effect.

Because of this, sites built for mobile don't incorporate hover at all, instead placing their state changes into the active category. These normally consist of items getting darker to simulate buttons being pressed down, vs lighter to simulate highlighting, which is more common with hover. And active changes are great, I've got nothing against them. I'm just sad that in switching from the mouse to the touchscreen, we're losing half of our available effects.

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