25 comments

  • Stuart McCoyStuart McCoy, 7 months ago

    None of these arguments are persuasive enough for me to say that the "standard" is correct.

    This highlights another issue I have with the web as an application interface. If we are to assume that buttons should not have the pointer on her, then should we also argue that controls cannot be selected like text? Radio buttons can be selected with the text cursor but they are not text and don't copy and paste with any reasonable consistency.

    Other controls do this as well. When using the CSS gradient tool highlighted the other day I "accidentally" selected the gradient angle control as if it were text. It's not text and cannot be copied but the browser allows it to be selected as text. The web has a lot of problems that need to be sorted out and perhaps this discussion should be part of it.

    I prefer clickable objects to alter the cursor as an extra affordance that sometimes might be useful but is likely never not helpful or hinders the user in any way. The real test for this standard should be does changing the cursor to a pointer keep the user from accomplishing the task? If the answer is no then perhaps the standard should be changed.

    20 points
    • Chris Gallello, 7 months ago

      Yeah I'm really confused by this series of posts. What's the harm in making buttons use cursor:pointer, especially when most of the internet does this? I don't agree that it's reasonable to say that every button should look distinctly like an old fashioned button. Visual styles are not inconsequential.

      6 points
      • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, 7 months ago

        Also; it mimics real life buttons. Which you press. With your finger.

        For the record, I didn't read the articles because it sounded like nonsense, and I see so many good reasons why it's required to change the cursor, and why the finger is (imo) the perfectly fitting tool for it. More so than for anything else.

        The headlines made me second-guess it in the case of everything OTHER than buttons, actually.

        4 points
  • Joshua TurnerJoshua Turner, 7 months ago

    Can I piggyback off this and plead people to stop using pseudo links instead of proper <a> tags?

    I live on being able to control click/right-click to open in a new tab.

    When you bind your <div> or anything else with a event to simulate a link, it does the bare minimum which is updating the page URL when clicked, but it is missing the usability of an actual link.

    20 points
    • David ThornDavid Thorn, 7 months ago

      Guilty. I try to avoid this nowadays.

      0 points
      • Joshua TurnerJoshua Turner, 7 months ago

        So many big players do it, it's hard to blame anyone for it anymore.

        Looking at you Google.

        1 point
        • Dirk HCM van BoxtelDirk HCM van Boxtel, 7 months ago

          it's hard to blame anyone for it anymore

          What? No wait! Just because everyone's doing it, doesn't mean we can't assign/take blame! ;)

          It starts and ends with us!

          I believe David should submit to 17 lashes of the whip. Tuesday next fortnight, noon, Central Park.

          0 points
    • Scott SmithScott Smith, 7 months ago

      Yes, this!

      1 point
  • Andrew Hersh, 7 months ago

    What is, to me, most ridiculous about this post is that he is basically saying that it makes no difference whether or not the hand cursor is used, but the only reason he thought about it is that he encountered a situation where the hand cursor could have been used and wasn't, and it gave him pause/distracted him.

    I don't want my visitors to pause or get distracted. I don't want them to click on something to SEE if it's a link or if it does something.

    Why are designers so obsessed with removing tried-and-true visual cues?

    17 points
    • Benoît ChabertBenoît Chabert, 7 months ago

      I think it's still good to question our "tried and true" visual cues because as the web evolves, interactions evolve and sometimes these are no longer tried and true. Your point is totally valid though, definitely causes a distraction! The OP forgot about his own encounter that made him think about the question in the first place.

      0 points
  • Daniel BoxDaniel Box, 7 months ago

    Pretty sure this is just trolling?

    6 points
  • David ThornDavid Thorn, 7 months ago

    Just like language, the web evolves over time. Whether something is proper or not, it can still be aight.

    6 points
  • John JacksonJohn Jackson, 7 months ago

    Most Internet users would assume, when viewing a website, that a hand cursor means that an interaction is available. While it may not have originally been intended for such a purpose, that's what it has become over the years. Users expect to see it when hovering over things they can interact with.

    So, I ask the question: Why is this even an issue? It doesn't matter what it was historically meant to do. What matters is how the world currently views it.

    6 points
    • Aurooba Ahmed, 7 months ago

      This is what I think too. If I see an element that is clearly interactive and it doesn't have the hand cursor, it completely throws me off.

      0 points
  • Renato CasteloRenato Castelo, 7 months ago

    Sometimes the standards are defined by the way people use a functionality and not by the original intent of the designer.

    The majority of websites I visited, use the hand cursor as a cue to say that something is clickable. That created a pattern, a mental model around how the cursor works on the web.

    With some effort and time, we could revert this pattern. But why would we? Is it worth it?

    4 points
  • paavo koyapaavo koya, 7 months ago

    Not gonna trust an article like this from someone whose own email sign-up has border-radius on one side only.

    3 points
  • Julian Moosbrugger, 7 months ago

    I think buttons (on websites) should have a hand cursor. It's a learned behavior. A button with a regular cursor feels strange. 99 % of users would approve this.

    I think the main difference from a website to a user interface on an operating system like windows is that the user interface on an operating system consists almost entirely of clickable elements. It's very hard to find something not clickable (besides the background, duh!). Websites however are much more informative and they display a lot of information (text, images, ...) which is not clickable. Therefore the hand cursor is used on the web to make clickable elements more clear.

    What do you think of this?

    Also, thanks for bringing up this topic, I never really thought about it until now.

    2 points
    • Chris Gallello, 7 months ago

      Oooo very interesting point - that totally makes sense as to why the pointer cursor was used so heavily. The principle is less relevant these days as we have rich web applications that mirror desktop apps, but when the web was first starting (and when conventions were being established) it was certainly much more focused on content.

      1 point
  • Cody IddingsCody Iddings, 7 months ago

    When I'm on my phone, I have a visual cue of a finger clicking on a link as well as a button.

    1 point
  • Marcel van Werkhoven, 7 months ago

    It would be a nice A/B test I think and I can already guess the outcome. Another visual cue makes people more likely to click. Especially in the era of flat design when a 'button' is often just a rectangle with a color. cursor:pointer also covers for designers that forget to implement clear hover states.

    0 points
  • Alex MarinAlex Marin, 7 months ago

    I encountered a few bugs where my cursor wouldn't change to an arrow whenever I was hovering a link/button and it was confusing.

    Also, buttons*.

    0 points