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In UI design, sometimes settings are hidden behind a little arrow or "+" symbol. When the user clicks on it, the item expands to show additional details.

Does this UI pattern have a name? Other than "little arrow"?

For example: "Click on the little arrow and edit the details for..."

Versus: "Click on the <insert-term-here> and edit...etc..."

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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The overarching design pattern itself is generally referred to as progressive disclosure. I personally often hear it referred to as a collapsible section/panel. Yahoo's pattern library lists a similar concept as Expand Transition, although that pattern speaks more to the transition from collapsed to expanded.

When speaking about the icons used in these type of expand/collapse implementations, I generally refer to them by their canonical name. For the plus symbol I would therefore say "click the plus icon to expand the content and/or show the details." For the arrow indicators I would use the name of the symbol yet again, as in "click the arrow to expand the content and/or show the details."

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Great references! –  Kevin Peno May 17 '12 at 17:23
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Thanks for the answer. Other names I found this morning: "expanding arrows", "folding arrows", and "disclosure widget". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disclosure_widget –  Stéphane May 17 '12 at 18:02
    
@Stéphane The last you mentioned is my new favorite :) –  GotDibbs May 17 '12 at 18:36

I tend to use Show/Hide, although I'm sure other terms are fine :)

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It depends on the interface, Gennerally I call them call links or select boxes.

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Calling show/hide icons links or select boxes could be confusing because even if you use links or select boxes as the show/hide controls, the term also encompasses other links and select boxes on the page. But if you're referring to them as their canonical name, such as "click the show link" then you should be safe and that's basically what the selected answer said. –  JD Smith Jul 19 '12 at 16:08

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