Whenever I'm reading a webpage, I often double click text to orient myself on the page (and for something to do I guess).

I recently landed on https://meet.google.com/ after a meeting and was supremely frustrated that they stopped me from double clicking the text.

In response, I opened up the dev tools, deselected this css option and selected the text to my sheer delight.

Does anyone have an idea why they would do this on their web app? I cannot think of any good reason for them to go to the effort.

  • 1
    What text are you referring to? I don't see the property being used other than on an img tag. Are you sure that it is not an extension or plugin that adds the property?
    – jazZRo
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 8:08
  • Google software is honestly not an example to aspire to, especially frontend code. I wouldn't even really hold the company's general efforts in much esteem since 2009 or so. Commented May 26 at 20:51

1 Answer 1


Being able to select arbitrary text is a feature pretty much exclusive to websites and website-derived apps (ie electron apps). "Normal" programs and "native" phone apps or games generally don't let you select most text, or don't even implement the concept of text selection at all.

So in the eyes of some designers, disabling arbitrary text selection therefore makes your webapp feel more like a "proper" app and be perceived as a higher-quality thing. And indeed, disabling text selection on things like buttons or menu items indeed may make the experience slightly less janky; the buttons on this very site do this for example.

In practice, being able to select arbitrary text tends to be very useful. Windows error messages for example can simply be copied with Ctrl+C, but since the selection is invisible it's not something that's obvious to the vast majority of users.

So, before you go ahead and user-select:none everything for better feels, make sure you keep it enabled for any elements which the user may want to take with them elsewhere - into translation engines, searches, chats with friends, and so on.

  • Well observed point. Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 5:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.