As I am building more sites with more asynchronously-loaded features, I am running up against a certain type of negative effect, which I am also finding quite a lot while browsing the web:

1) User enters the page
2) User sees an item s/he wants to click
3) User mouses to that item
4) Just before (micro-seconds) clicking, more content loads, pushing the target down-page, and another item into position under mouse
5) User inadvertently clicks on the wrong item, taking her/him somewhere wrong.

So many times colleagues are building pages that give rise to this effect that I need an easy handle to describe it. Preferably something short, humorous, and visually descriptive, the way "butt-calling" perfectly captures the problem with cell-phones in your back-pocket.

Does anybody have a term for this?

  • 1
    I haven't heard of a term for it yet.
    – Mike
    Commented Jul 26, 2013 at 22:04
  • 2
    We call those calls "broekzak gesprekken" ("throuser pocket conversations" - sorry, doesn't translate that well). As for your question: "Point and miss", "Target moved" or "Content moved", in an hat-tip to "Who moved my cheese?": "Cheese moved"... Commented Jul 27, 2013 at 10:17
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    This seems to be more of an implementation issue that a UX one.
    – Brendon
    Commented Jul 27, 2013 at 12:00

2 Answers 2


In our office we call these TAWOL, target absent without official leave. The biggest offenders are slider content by far. "Oh that's interesting, let me click. Oops, too late."


I suggest naming the condition that causes us all to click before the page has finished loading, since that's easier to name. I would say that the user clicks in response to a false end-of-page-loading signal, and their click target has moved, resulting in the acquisition of an unintended target. So, a "drive-by" click is the result. It's interesting that people don't read, nor do we wait for a page to fully load before making our selection. I often compare web browsing to driving because of the habits we form while doing both. There is limited time and attention, so we scan, click, and hit "back" rather than wait, read and choose carefully.

  • 1
    The problem can occur because of other reasons, too. E.g. when a page dynamically (re)loads content (after the initial page was fully loaded), or after fancy hover effects that move content, or even because of a hardware issue (it sometimes happens to me that my mouse wheel scrolls "automatically" a few lines)
    – unor
    Commented Jul 27, 2013 at 15:42
  • This also reminds me of the shell game, where the performer with three cups places coin or some small object under one of them, then shuffles them around and asks the volunteer to guess which cup holds the item. The volunteer makes their selection, and they are always wrong. Click - shuffle - select, oops. ;-) Commented Aug 1, 2013 at 14:30

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