Taking the example of Gmail, when you hover over "Sign out" or "Add account" buttons


the cursor is default instead of hand

Is there any particular reason behind that? There are clear drawbacks (less information awareness), but can anyone give some benefits of showing the arrow cursor for interactive elements?

  • 1
    Questions as to why company X did something aren't really ones we can give correct answers to. Only speculation and opinions. The only way to find out the answer here is to contact the company directly.
    – JonW
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 8:20
  • 2
    @JonW I'm not sure if this was intended to specifically ask about google. Often these questions are simply to gather pros and cons to approaches to inform their own design decisions. I tweaked the question a bit and reopened. Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 11:16
  • @PixelSnader got it right. My intention was to weigh the pros and cons in order to come to a decision whether that is a good way to go
    – asprin
    Commented Apr 15, 2016 at 13:48

2 Answers 2


It will be an attempt to make the app feel more like it is OS native, and less like a website. The UI should be able to provide clear signals about what is interactive and what is not. If a user is relying on the cursor to change to indicate an elements inter-activeness, then the user experience has not been considered enough. In a website the hand pointer is used as text links or even image links do not always clearly provide clues to whether they are interactive. No hand pointer is a clear indicator the link is not actually a link.

The clear benefit to me of not using the hand pointer is that the design has to provide all the clues required to indicate an interactive element making for a better user interface design. A touch screen targeted interface has to be designed without the hand pointer with no detriment to the user experience just like a desktop one can.


I think in that way the interface looks more like an "OS software" and less like a Web App. We shouldn't not forget that Gmail was one of the first adopted WebApp to really replace email softwares.

This UI is getting a bit old. Inbox is using a real pointer on every elements.

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