I'm building a map where mouse users can view details by hovering a region, and drill down to that region by clicking on it. e.g. hover Texas and see a map popup with data on population, size, unemployment but then if you click inside the Texas area then you'll drill down to a county level and be able to do the same until you hit cities, suburbs, etc.

My general question is: how to design this with touch devices in mind? From similar questions, it seems like having single tap/touch on touch device bring up the "hover" menu makes sense. So then how to support the "drilling down" aspect? For example, would it make sense to detect touch and in that case add a "Drill down" button inside the hover/popup, which is not present in non-touch?

I really would like to support touch in a way that doesn't diminish the non-touch experience too. i.e. keep the same hover or click paradigm for non-touch while supporting touch devices with an alternative. I haven't seen this particular goal/question answered in any similar answers on here.

  • Short click to drill-down. Long click to see details?
    – RawBean
    Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 8:16

2 Answers 2


You should look at (Google's) inbox for touch screen implementation of hover.

There are a lot of hover control in inbox. You hover over the icon, they turn into checkboxes, you hover over title, more option button shows, etc etc...

In short, they replace hover with one touch (tap), and replace click with two touch (two taps). I'm replicating this behaviour, it's elegant and it feels like it's becoming the standard into the future.


Typical mobile development and UI best practices are to show detail, then allow users to select. In your case, tap once for details, then a button to select it would be visible and upon tapping would select the item in question. Because that provides clarity.

Alternatives include setting a shortcut tap to enter immediately (it depends on how users enter typically and in what number...if I enter Texas multiple times I don't want to see the details every time), using a gesture (long-hold, swipe, pinch, etc.) or more traditional computer interface controls like double click. The best solution will depend on the majority use case, which we don't know yet.

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