The end of :hover
Avishkar Autar · Jul 9 2010 · Web Design
Interesting post on the realization that :hover (in CSS, this defines what occurs when the mouse is over an HTML element) is no longer viable for layout on touchscreen devices.
When I sat down to a redesign of the Gameplan2 admin interface I suddenly came to a realisation, :hover doesn’t work. It’s entirely possible I’d skim read this somewhere, but somehow the implications for my design work had passed me by until I saw an iPad in use.
I came to the same realization when designing the Ekkio web client, and realizing I couldn’t open the file and folder submenus on my Palm Pixi.
The arrows on the left would only appear when the user hovered over a file or folder. The solution, as shown, was to always show the arrows, but make then a lighter shade; on hover or when the dropdown is open, the arrows become a darker shade. This works well, despite the visual clutter of the arrows always being visible.
I agree with Croll’s conclusion,
So my proposition is this: :hover as an web interface design tool going forward is going to be less and less important.
On a related note, touchscreen also don’t allow viewing the alt-text when hovering over an image. This is probably not a big deal when it comes to web layout, but it sucks for reading xkcd.