I know that a discussion was already made on various places whether it is good to use hover on images on the web or in mobile apps. With the rise in mobile use where touch is prevalent do you think this practice makes sense?

I am mostly interested in your personal opinions - what are you currently doing with new projects. Introducing more hover or removing them?

This is one of the sites that uses hover heavily both in web version and in the mobile (responsive) version of the site:


I find this practice very useful especially in portfolio sites and sites that layout images in a kind of a wall where putting text under the image would break design and obviously more vertical space will be required.

  • this is called metro style from Windows 8
    – Andy
    Jan 15, 2013 at 3:12
  • I think brightstarr is a Windows 8 developer, and they are just copying the Windows 8 look/feel.
    – Reactgular
    Jan 15, 2013 at 3:25
  • Note they aren't using hover on mobile. They're using click. That's because there is no proper hover on a touch device. They way they've did it technically works. Not sure it works usability-wise as there's no indication that you are supposed to click the images at all.
    – DA01
    Jan 15, 2013 at 3:50
  • @Andy: It's actually not "Metro" anymore... Officially, it's "Windows Store Apps" now... Jan 15, 2013 at 8:15
  • I know it's "Metro" but Metro is just look and feel and the squares, the hovers are more general and used in wide variety of places, for instance on Gilt also, etc.
    – mare
    Jan 15, 2013 at 12:17

3 Answers 3


According to me, if your image is not self-explanatory then simplify or correct that first. As you have correctly pointed it out, you won't have the luxury of capturing hover events on mobile apps. Either have the caption of the image directly embedded into the image. If you really have to show some extra description for image, then you can go with 'Long Tap' event where you will not lift your finger up for more than 3 seconds.

  • yeah but how many mobile users actually use the long tap and it's not available on all devices, for instance it doesn't on work on one of my Sony Xperia's?
    – mare
    Jan 15, 2013 at 12:19
  • @mare If it is a web application, then stackoverflow.com/questions/2625210/long-press-in-javascript should help. Even if it is a native app, it shouldn't be too much of a trouble. Long tap should be quite common for mobile users since on Android devices and Apple devices, there are some functions that happen only at the long tap on icons on home page. If you long tap on iPhone home page, you will be able to delete that icon. When you long tap on Android you will be given the option to clear up the memory.
    – ripu1581
    Jan 15, 2013 at 12:25

The brightstarr.com site is very compromised on an iPad because there's no clue as to what clicking on those images will do. If you follow this pattern you have to do some way to supply that hover-revealed information on touch UIs.

But in general I think this peek-a-boo hover-rollover-reveal style is a passing fad that is on its way out. Touch UIs are becoming increasing popular for web browsing hence the a site's UX on a touch UI is as important it is on a traditional pointer driven system.


It's bad, 28% of smart phone users say that they use their mobile phone for most of their online activity (source) So not only "peek-a-boo hover-rollover-reveal style" is going out of style the whole hover will soon be obsolete. I still use a:hover in conjunct with a:active so the style of a link would look the same on PC and mobile.

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