I know it's a bit of a stretch considering it's ultimately opinion (but most UX is) but I'm coming up blank on a visual concept I could use to "iconify" the functionality of "Keep Open" to the user.

Scenario; Large lists with multiple parts of each item that expand and collapse when an item is actively selected or not. However I do provide an option to keep all the nested expandable/collapsible content open even when the item doesn't have active selection.

First I gave them a nifty animated pushpin to give the visual of "pinning" an item in place.

enter image description here

They didn't like it. I tried some other things, they didn't like those either. They opted for me to basically use the In/Out arrow visual that is basically the universal "Make Full Screen" icon like you would see on any youtube video etc.

enter image description here

Except it bugs me lol, and I would personally be confused by this since it doesn't make anything full screen.

So the question is, there a common place icon visual that would convey the concept of "Keep EVERYTHING in this item expanded even when it's not selected?"

If this is too general of a question just seeking inspiration please feel free to say so before going on a down-voting tirade please so I can just del it. ;)

  • This will likely get closed as icon suggestions are not allowed. But personally I don't see the problem with the pushpin, Visual Studio the development tool uses pushpins on it's tabs to signify keeping them open and I rather like it. EDIT: Ah I lied the pushpin is a little different, the actual "Keep Open" icon is this button, whatever it is supposed to be.
    – DasBeasto
    Jan 19, 2016 at 19:14
  • Yea that's kind of what I was thinking also. On the other note though I didn't see anything wrong with the pushpin either. The problem is the "business" side determines all UX on a huge project. There's no real standards, and more often then not you have hundreds of users having their UX decided by one department head who quite definitely has never done UX (or any form of dev for that matter) on any level in their entire lives. Lovely politics indeed lol.
    – Chris W.
    Jan 19, 2016 at 19:18
  • 1
    Most of UX is about opinions? Max Wertheimer and quite a few people would turn in their graves, or if still alive - in their beds.
    – Izhaki
    Jan 19, 2016 at 21:39
  • @Izhaki Show me anything that 100% of a large user base agrees unquestionably about every element of UX in something reasonably complex and I will share their lament. Can't please everyone lol.
    – Chris W.
    Jan 19, 2016 at 21:42
  • 2
    @ChrisW. There's a wealth of cognition that pours into UX and is based on years of empirical studies, not quite on opinions. We like Nielsen because most of his publications are the result of systematic investigations. Even the stuff that is opinion-sourced, when properly done, goes through some rigorous data collection and analysis methods. Remember that even Einstein's general relativity is ultimately based of beliefs.
    – Izhaki
    Jan 19, 2016 at 22:22

1 Answer 1


Since we're talking about lists the closest analog is folders. Something like this may work:

enter image description here

  • I ended up using an animated contemporary scroll visual thing I made, but thanks for attempting to answer either way, marking as correct.
    – Chris W.
    Jan 20, 2016 at 6:05

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