When using the official Github for Mac GUI client, I've seen that there's an icon which is used to open a hidden menu. It uses arrows to indicate that it moves something, but those arrows are pointing opposite as they move the content, as shown in these images:

Menu hidden

Menu shown

I've seen this some other times, can't remember where. Is this a new practice? Why could be the reason of using them that way?

  • 7
    Asking the reason someone else decided to do something isn't really a question anyone here can answer, as they (probably) didn't create the screen. Can you think of a different way to get an answer that would help you with your design decisions? Jan 24, 2015 at 5:03

1 Answer 1


This is just another example of the famous state-action ambiguity problem, which is discussed in length on this UX.SE question.

The designer of the interface in question has chosen to show the state, rather than the action. Like you, I find it a bit awkward and unintuitive, but theory wise - there's nothing wrong with it, it can be either or, and neither will be conclusive.

Perhaps what's more disturbing is that in this specific case, the designer could have simply use a label 'Show merge view' and 'Hide merge view' and save us all having to cognate the semantics.

  • I agree with Izhaki and I would add that the continuing presence of the phrase "Merge View" might cause somebody to believe that something is yet to be explored when it already has been explored. Ideally, GUIs should be crystal clear to the user, creating very little possibility of confusion. Jan 24, 2015 at 21:00

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