Here's a screenshot of apple.stackexchange.com:

enter image description here

The button "active" is decorated in a way which looks like an iPhone's slider control. The first thing that comes to mind is that it's draggable (but it isn't).

Is the "apple slider button" using the correct affordance?

4 Answers 4


Yes, it is using the right affordance (to be consistent with OSX Lion).

This is slightly confusing implementation of what I think they are trying to achieve. I agree, it does look like the slider/switch control used in iOS. Sad news is, this is what OSX Lion is going to look like. They are changing the look of these "tabbed" controls. See below:enter image description here

At this point, I agree it's a little confusing, considering that iOS uses a similar styling for their slider controls. Only time will tell if this was the right move on Apple's part.

As far as apple.stackexchange goes, they are doing the right thing by reflecting the upcoming Apple interface in their own design.

Update: As Jin pointed out, Apple reversed this design decision in the latest build of OSX Lion (thankfully). You can read about it here. It appears that apple.stackexchange will also be changing it to reflect this decision.

The importance of user feedback in action! :)

  • 1
    I stand corrected! Good find, Matt. And 'booo' Apple. That's a very awkward widget there.
    – DA01
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 13:35
  • 2
    Actually, I'm going to update the tab appearance on Apple.se site soon. Apple has updated this UI in the latest Lion build due to complaints.
    – Jin
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 17:09
  • 1
    @Jin - O awesome, that's great news! Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 17:39
  • 1
    It would be acceptable, if it acted and animated like a slider (as well as being clickable for convenience). Commented Mar 12, 2014 at 5:33

It's a list of links so, no, the slider UI is completely wrong for that particular interaction.

  • 2
    +1, yes. If it looks like a botton, it should behave like a button. Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 7:43

I'd use something like iTunes does for its song list options.

iTunes screenshot

  • 1
    That's exactly what they did on apple.stackexchange, except they reflected the most up to date version of this control as it is used in OSX Lion. Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 13:02
  • @Matt oh, i see... my bad, sorry
    – exp
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 20:16

If Apple are going this way with Lion, they should read their own HIG. The Metaphor here (and the usual name for the gadget) is a Radio button, where one pushes a single button to select the item. Twas ever thus! Selecting an item by pushing it, to have it protrude is illogical.

  • @ Linasses - see Jin's comment above. Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 17:56
  • btw what's a HIG?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 3:14
  • @ Pacerier - Human Interface Guidelines Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 11:54

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