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100 votes
Accepted

Why does the cursor have a tail?

To add to DA01's great answer, here's the history of cursor arrow. The link also links to a well known document from Xerox with further explanation, from which I took the image below. However, this ...
  • 33.7k
89 votes

Why don't <button> HTML elements have a CSS cursor pointer by default?

Here's why: Microsoft’s design guides talk about weak affordance: Text and graphics links use a hand […] pointer […] because of their weak affordance. While links may have other visual ...
  • 16.1k
57 votes

Why does the cursor have a tail?

It's an arrow: pictograms of arrows have mostly always had at least the arrow head and the shaft: Whoever drew the cursor as we know it was drawing an arrow. It became the default standard. You ...
  • 41.7k
44 votes
Accepted

Why does the cursor type vary?

Conventionally, in desktop UIs, clickable elements don't get a special cursor. They might change their state some other way when hovered, but the cursor typically remains the same (the default, "arrow"...
  • 2,463
41 votes
Accepted

Why don't <button> HTML elements have a CSS cursor pointer by default?

It's worth considering the historical order in which these things came into being. Buttons existed from very early in the days of GUI computing. They had a shadowing effect to give a skeuomorphic ...
  • 701
30 votes

Why don't <button> HTML elements have a CSS cursor pointer by default?

According to W3C cursor: pointer The cursor is a pointer that indicates a link. The specification only indicates that links are meant to have the pointer cursor. Buttons are not meant to have the ...
  • 16.7k
28 votes
Accepted

When to use grab vs move cursor?

Move objects to rearrange them, grab objects to perform operations on them The move cursor should be used when objects are just being rearranged (translated) without any alteration to their properties ...
  • 40.6k
18 votes

Why are CSS cursor types so rare on the web?

I think you've answered your own question. The special cursors demonstrated on that web site are rarely needed, whether in a browser or outside of one. Of the 31 cursors, 14 of them are for resizing ...
  • 3,326
15 votes

Why are CSS cursor types so rare on the web?

I see Progress and Help used fairly regularly. Other than that, the rest of them are mostly situational... there's no need to use them out of specific tasks and environments. Using cursors where ...
  • 1,245
14 votes

Tooltip CSS cursor

The cursor should change depending on the interaction the user can do with the element, not on the tooltip. A tooltip appears to explain what the element is or what it does. For example when we hover ...
  • 16.7k
11 votes

Why are CSS cursor types so rare on the web?

"Default", "Pointer" and "Text" are defaults in browsers. Others we forget to specify for developer — because we paint static images. But if we work with interaction our-self, we will remember to ...
9 votes

Who created the Mac Mickey pointer cursor?

The correct answer is Walt Disney, but tangentially. The Mickey Mouse watch famously used Mickey's hands as clock hands, which seems to be the earliest example I can find of using Mickey's hand as a ...
  • 15.4k
8 votes

Office 2013 smooth cursor while typing

Any time you design a feature you can't deliver, you're spreading bad UX. And if you're delivering a feature you haven't successfully developed, you're spreading terrible UX. This video shows what a ...
  • 445
7 votes

When to use grab vs move cursor?

In many drawing programs, grab is used to move the drawing surface (canvas) around, i.e., to show a different part of it. This is called panning. Move is used to move the selected object around ...
  • 348
7 votes

Why is the mouse cursor slightly tilted and not straight?

It is a right-handed world. It used to be that if you switched our right/left click buttons the arrow would point towards the right (opposite of the images cited). This supports that the arrow ...
  • 1,232
6 votes

Office 2013 smooth cursor while typing

It all begins with system capabilities. In last couple of years the external graphics drivers are playing a huge role in improving system performances by GPU Accelerated Computing Systems. Cursors ...
  • 16.1k
6 votes

Office 2013 smooth cursor while typing

There are two problems. The first is the visible delay between the instance typing stops and the cursor moves, the second is that instance where the cursor appears above the text. Optimisation of ...
6 votes

Why does the cursor have a tail?

look at how your finger points it could also be a wrist. people also see based on shapes and the cursor as is has more breaks and easily stands out on top of pages than a triangle. Also a right ...
6 votes

when to use "wait" and when "busy" mouse cursor

This is actually mentioned in the QT docs: https://doc.qt.io/qt-5/qt.html#CursorShape-enum Wait Cursor: - Usually shown during operations that prevent the user from interacting with the application. ...
  • 15.2k
5 votes
Accepted

Magnifying glass cursor

Think about what your users need The magnifying glass is a very well understood idiom for zoom, so it's probably the right cursor to use. The use of inset (plus on the inside) vs offset (plus to the ...
  • 40.6k
5 votes

Why is the mouse cursor slightly tilted and not straight?

The fact that the mouse cursor is slightly tilted to the left makes a lot of sense. A very interesting fact: If it were straight, it would take a nanosecond more to place the cursor on the desired ...
  • 522
4 votes
Accepted

What are the benefits of using a black cursor with white outline, over white with black?

I don't have a definitive answer for why Apple made the decision they did. But here's an answer based on UX analysis: The pointer cursor needs two high-contrast colors to ensure it can be discerned ...
  • 40.6k
4 votes
Accepted

Why is the I-beam pointer shaped the way it is?

The I-beam is just a descriptive term, as it resembles a construction I-beam, the correct term would be 'a caret'. - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-beam Apparantly it has several uses, first of all, ...
  • 1,098
4 votes

Are cursor trail effects frowned upon and why?

The first thing to consider is that touch based device don't have cursors. Aside from that if you can do the animation tastefully and without using too many resources from the browser, it could add ...
3 votes

When to use grab vs move cursor?

From my experience, the grab and grabbing cursor behaviour works when you need an explicit hover and click & hold behaviour for movable UI elements, which makes sense for desktop applications ...
  • 25.8k
3 votes

Office 2013 smooth cursor while typing

There is definitely good evidence of how animation can enhance (or negatively impact) the usability of screen elements and controls. However, I think to properly answer your question, no, I do not ...
  • 3,118
3 votes

Why is the mouse cursor slightly tilted and not straight?

The angle, the cursor is inclined at gives a better feeling of pointing something. A cursor straight at 90 degree would not provide a good effect.It provides improved appearance on low resolution ...
  • 249
3 votes

Using pointer mouse cursor shape on controls

If you are in doubt show a hand cursor on everything that is clickable. For the web application I’m working on I have done a lot of observations and came to the conclusion above. We have almost no ...
  • 10.7k
3 votes

Have clickable elements been a default cursor?

No question here. Anyways, the implementation of changing cursors was more prominent when visual elements are not distinguishable. This happened when web had a very static texty look. Nowadays, a ...
3 votes
Accepted

Why does the cursor stop blinking after 10 seconds in some programs?

What the other answer neglected to mention was that this behaviour is changeable using GSettings/DConf Editor: just bump the value of this key - /org/gnome/desktop/interface/cursor-blink-timeout- and ...

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