I'm designing a product-based website, and I have a dropdown selector at the bottom of one of the pages near the footer. When I went to review development, I noticed that the way the dropdown selector was coded, the menu options expanded on top of the field instead of below (see attached). I assume the developer did this so that the menu options don't cover up information in the footer when expanded, but was concerned with the break in convention for this pattern.

enter image description here

I'd like to recommend the developer change this, so the menu options expand below the field like a traditional dropdown menu, even if they cover some information in the footer. I think this is okay because the dropdown menu is the user's focus once it's expanded, and once they've clicked into the dropdown menu the footer content is not relevant to the decision they're making (selecting an option).

Are there usability concerns with the current solution (attached) and am I making too big a deal of something that's pretty minor in the scheme of things? Is it okay to break this pattern a bit in order to not obscure information in the footer?

Thanks for the help.

  • Does the dropdown open upwards even when there is room for it to open down?
    – Dave Haigh
    Aug 25, 2015 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


There's nothing wrong or unexpected about a dropdown opening upwards. It happens quite a lot. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if you've seen it yourself, many many times. You just don't question it because it's instinctive.

If a dropdown is going to open 'below the fold' then it often opens upwards. It happens on sites like Amazon for example:

enter image description here

So your developer isn't doing anything wrong. In fact I think they're doing it right.

What is more annoying; a dropdown panel opening up below the fold and you not even noticing it's opened? Or a dropdown opening upwards instead of down?

  • 2
    this is built in browser behaviour when dealing with a standard HTML Select element
    – Dave Haigh
    Aug 25, 2015 at 14:20
  • 1
    They actually only open upwards if they will appear below the Windows taskbar. Otherwise they appear over the top of browser window bottom edge.
    – Dave Haigh
    Aug 25, 2015 at 14:22
  • 1
    @DaveHaigh Yes, that is true. But often both are the same thing (assuming people have browsers full-screen).
    – JonW
    Aug 25, 2015 at 14:29

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