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I've begun to notice that a lot of apps have opted to use a right arrow chevron on the right edge of the header.

However, I am used to seeing it to indicate that it will transition to a different page. This is common in mobile applications as well as some desktop applications like firefox overflow menu's.

From my personal observation and experience, a right arrow chevron, if used as an expander, should not be on the right side. It can be either on the left of the header or a different icon like a down arrow chevron.

For example, I find the following pictures quite misleading, and I believe in their current positions, they should be down arrow chevrons instead.

Am I correct to say this? I realize there isn't a black or white solution, but I'm leaning towards my reasoning. But because a lot of apps made specifically for UI designs do in fact follow this pattern makes me uncertain.

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  • I think it's funny that the example of this confusing UI is actually a UI design tool (Sketch)! – RobbyReindeer Mar 19 at 12:41
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The problem is the double usage of a "right" symbol.

It is quite common in systems - including various versions of the Windows file manager - to use a right symbol for an unopened directory and a down symbol for an opened directory. This matches the usage in your examples. The problem with using down for an unopened list is that it would not be easily distinguishable from an opened but empty list.

However, that leaves the problem of "right" for "another page". That is more of an issue with mobile/small-screen applications than with a desktop application. But the issue is the same. Desktop applications that use right/down and put the symbols on the left do not typically have any right symbol (or any other symbol) on the right side - it just doesn't make sense. In the case of mobile apps, the types of additional functions provided by a "right symbol that isn't to open a selection list" are handled by separate buttons on a typical desktop application, but you just don't have as much space for those buttons on a mobile application.

One possible solution is to make something else different about the items that can be "opened' vs. "navigate to another page". This could be a different "right" symbol, or it could be some color or graphic change to the entire menu item to indicate that it functions differently from "open a selection list".

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