I keep hitting this issue and wonder if there's a hard and fast anwser:

On a dropdown widget, should the icon be up or down on either state?

For example when down should the icon be pointing up to show you what will happen when you click, or down to indecate it's current state?


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2 Answers 2

  1. My preference would be to place the icon on the left. But if you need to have it on the right, it would also kind of work I think (but not as well as on the left).
  2. When collapsed, it should point to the right ">"
  3. When expanded it should point downwards "V"

As regards expanded / collapsed state - from my (limited) testing with business users it is more intuitive to them if the icon reflects the current state of the control / section rather than "what will happen if they click it".

  • I have wondered about this, in the iOS table view, a right facing chevron such as you have indicate that another view will be shown. Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 17:17
  • My personal take on the chevron is as follows - when the chevron is to the left of the text it means "expanded" (if downwards) or "collapsed" (if to the right). When the chevron is placed to the right of the text (right margin of the screen) and points to the right for me it means "go to another view". Chevrons on the right and pointing downwards signify drop downs of some kind. Of course a lot depends on the platform you are designing for. I am speaking mostly about PC / windows apps here.
    – Odie
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 7:39

As I see it, adding a '>' creates a feeling that you will be redirected somewhere else (another view!), you dont really expect a dropdown. I always apply the common sense in this case scenario:

  • When collapsed: "V"
  • When expanded: "A"

these are self explanatory

  • not sure i agree here. 'A'? not going to work for all languages..
    – benbyford
    Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 11:26

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