Jan 19

(DHTML) Hover Magic Sucks

I am really starting to hate when sites hide functionality beneath hover effects.

One of the common practices of "web 2.0 sites" (a kitten just died) is to have hidden user interface elements suddenly show up on hover. This is horrible for many reasons:

  • It makes functionality harder to discover.
  • It is very annoying to have things showing up when casually moving the mouse pointer over a web page.
  • There is no hover on touchscreen devices. This is becoming more and more important with the popularity of the iPhone and other touchscreen phones. Also, with Windows 7 natively supporting multi-touch, we are likely to see much more touch devices for the home in the near future.
  • It isn't accessible. If you can't access the functionality with your keyboard, it just isn't going to be accessible to those using screenreaders.

A good bad example of this is the twitter web interface. When you hover over individual tweets in your feed, notice how the favorite and reply icons show up on hover.

Hover Magic Sucks

Pretty cool right? Now turn on a screenreader, turn off your monitor, unplug your mouse, and try replying or fav'ing a tweet. It's impossible. Was it really necessary to hide those icons in the first place?

</endofrant>

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