I am looking for a term to describe the way that some UI elements are overloaded to display more information or provide features that are not always appropriate for what the UI element was originally designed for.

This seems to happen for specific user interface elements such as the loading/progress bar, which used to be displayed in modals or pop-ups, but in certain cases it is incorporated into the address bar (browser or desktop applications) such as the File Explorer address bar as seen in the image below.

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There are probably some other good examples but I am wondering if there is a term used to describe this particular type of design decision/strategy.

  • 1
    I'm unaware of an industry standard term for these types of objects (doesn't mean there's not one), but i refer to them as "multifaceted UI elements".
    – ke11en
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 21:30
  • @ke11en I guess that term is fine if it was the original intention but in this case I feel like it was never quite the intention for the UI element to be used in that way.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 22:03

3 Answers 3


How about retrofit? E.g., "the address-bar has been retrofitted with a progress-bar".

A dictionary defines the term as follows:

  • v. To provide (a jet, automobile, computer, or factory, for example) with parts, devices, or equipment not in existence or available at the time of original manufacture.
  • v. To install or fit (a device or system, for example) for use in or on an existing structure
  • v. To fit into or onto equipment already in existence or service.

Retrofitting is a common practice, it is an established term that engineers in other fields use.

  • Retrofit doesn't necessary mean that the component is overloaded, but it is an interesting suggestion.
    – Michael Lai
    Commented May 15 at 22:31

I've met the following terms related to your question:

  • Custom element/component
  • Extended element/component
  • Combining several components into single component
  • Overriding standard component

Check this Android Custom View Components guide https://developer.android.com/guide/topics/ui/custom-components where similar terms are used.

  • Just came to my mind that a Combobox element (aka Dropdown now) got its name from the combination of a Text box and a List.
    – An Lev
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 11:27
  • +1 I didn't realise that there were so many different terms used to refer to this practice :)
    – Michael Lai
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 12:53

I won't aware this till yet. But you can give your terminology. I would suggest few. What about feature platform or added feature. Where you can specify the guidelines to meet this term logical. If you want any help to create guidelines. I would be happiest person ☺

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