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JAN 2010 3

Should I use on hover behavior?

ThemeForest dot net screenshot

Yes, you should! Why not? After all, you could really enhance your user interface. However, using such a behavior could also tear apart user experiences, especially if your visitors are using mobile devices like the HTC Touch, the iPhone or the newly released iPad. Such devices unfortunately cannot "feel" your finger above the screen so there's no hovering triggered in their browsers.

Before choosing hover events in your websites or webapps you should probably check how much of your site's visitors are represented by mobile users. If the percentage is decent, I wouldn't use hovering and switch instead to the traditional click. Envato's marketplaces have been featured on Webia before for their awesome consistency across all websites, which was a good thing.

I am about to talk about a slightly bad thing on Envato's marketplace sites. Each of them has a categories button just below the logo, which if hovered with a mouse expands and shows popular categories. Clicking on such a category will redirect you to that category's dedicated page, while clicking the categories top button will trigger nothing.

ThemeForest's categories menu triggered by hover on PC

Now that's ok if you're using a computer, notebook or anything that comes with a mouse. If you're using a mobile device you simply cannot jump to a category you love. This means you have to go for a work around, which is nowhere to be found if you're not a regular user.

Who does this right?

ThemeForest dot net screenshot

If you think we're going to jump light years away to find another site that does this well, you're wrong. Remember that we talked about the logo, located just above the categories button? Well, next to the logo are two small arrows pointing out that something happens over there. If you click that small button you get a dropdown menu similar to the one you get when checking out categories. This menu is used to rapidly switch between Envato's marketplaces. My question is why did Envato implement click on their marketplace switch and hover on their categories menu?

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Published on Saturday, January 30th, 2010 at 8:59 am in usability.

About Bogdan Pop

Bogdan Pop is a young Romanian entrepreneur who runs WebRaptor. He is a web developer with awesome design skills, who enjoys writing about everyday's work and usability. He relaxes by taking photos every once in a while and by mixing french electronic music. Connect with him via Twitter.
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