Is it a better practice to user hover drop downs than onClick drop downs? Enter text field input on hover or on click? check this website hover state was elegantly used.Do check the communicate>the crowdshout tab-form.

ya i get that if we are using ajax to load content it is better to go with click drop down like the case of StackExchange points. can we not go with hover Drop down for help option in stackExchange top bar?

  • How do you activate hover on a tablet?
    – JonW
    Apr 2, 2014 at 12:52
  • This question really needs to be fleshed out a bit more. Apr 2, 2014 at 14:17

3 Answers 3


In general - don't use hover to engage actions! Hover can be used to show subtle graphical cues like highlighting a button to show that it's possible to interact with it, or to show a tool tip. Users can get frustrated if actions are engaged just by hovering since it's not a standard way of doing it. And (as stated in the comments) - hover doesn't exists in touch screens.

In some cases it can be a solution, but those (unusual) cases would need some user testing, evaluation etc.

  • +1. I agree. Hover is becoming a very deprecated concept.
    – Pdxd
    Apr 2, 2014 at 15:26
  • which is very sad, as it provided great help in terms of usability and user experience. It only gets deprecated because mobile doesn't support it broadly yet.
    – Gustav
    Apr 3, 2014 at 7:11

Use hover, but don't make your UI depend on it as:

  • it doesn't work on touch devices
  • if used to reveal actions, those actions are effectively hidden away from the user
  • hover is not accessible to all users (it requires patience; ability to exactly position the mouse)
  • it's totally uncommon to activate items on hover, no matter how convenient that may seem


Hover works well on desktop machines to:

  • reveal more of text truncated with an ellipsis (e.g. "User exp.." -> "User Experience")
  • provide additional information on an item (e.g. information about its current state).
  • show an invitation to click an element

However, if you use hover like this, make sure you always offer an alternative way to get to the same information, even it means you need two clicks to get there. Never ever depend on hover, use it only to give some users more possibilities or quicker access.


I typically argue that if you feel that hover is the best solution to offer essential UI functionality, you should take a step back and reconsider your overall solution. You almost certainly have a problem you need to solve using other means.


Only mice input has hover. Keyboard input does not. Touch devices do not. We all use touch devices now. Don't rely on hover.

  • 1
    My new Galaxy s5 with Android actually supports hovering (hold your finger close above the screen). This is however highly unusual but might catch up as a standard in the future... Jun 18, 2014 at 13:24
  • 1
    @HenrikEkblom that is cool. However, I don't how practical of a gesture that'd be. Neat, but not necessarily usable. :)
    – DA01
    Jun 18, 2014 at 17:33

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.