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Dropdown menus typically show a down-pointing triangle until you click them, then the menu pops down. What if the menu ops UP, not down (for space reasons in this case). Our people built this using an up-pointing triangle, which intuitively struck me as odd. Of course it's functional either way, but I'm a fan of the Principle Of Least Surprise, and I thought this was distracting, called attention to itself. Is that just me, or is this not what users would expect?

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  • is this on a footer or bottom bar?
    – Devin
    Jul 7, 2023 at 17:05
  • @Devin no, it's on a login page. There's a bunch of important content above it, and I think they wanted to make sure the menu didn't extend below the bottom of the page where it wasn't visible or clickable.
    – enigment
    Jul 7, 2023 at 17:24

1 Answer 1

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Personally, I think this decision should be made based on testing. "Dropup" dialogs are very uncommon, but they exist. All of those I have seen have the arrow pointing up, just as your developers did.

In my opinion, this is correct. If I see a dropdown on a footer, my mental process will be:

  • a. options won't fit
  • b. the footer will expand to allow space for the dropdown

Either way, it will be confusing and a horrible user experience.

If I see an arrow up, my cognitive process will be "OK, there's something that will happen, and this arrow shows the motion will go upwards."

The thing is, I'm completely biased and used to this type of element and what should happen and why. Hence, again: the real answer will come from user testing.

Examples

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  • Those examples were very helpful, thank you, I somehow didn't think to look for some. They all did as you said -- drop-up behavior uses an up-pointing arrow. So I guess it's just me, and I'll get over it. (BTW, not important, but unless I'm confused, you said that drop-ups have the arrow pointing down, like our devs did, which I think is the opposite of what you meant. It should point up, which is what our devs did.)
    – enigment
    Jul 7, 2023 at 19:53
  • ah yes I corrected it, my mistake
    – Devin
    Jul 7, 2023 at 20:46

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