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420: The Pointer Cursor Debate

November 17, 2021

This week, we discuss the humble cursor and its role in affording interactivity in software design. In The Sidebar, we talk about the long term impact of the features we build, the importance of smart defaults, and the value of time well spent in our products.

Sponsor:

Patreon is hiring product designers in San Francisco and New York City. Today, Patreon is at the heart of the creator economy. In the last 8 years, the product has grown to support more than 250k creators, who are collectively supported by more than 8 million patrons. So far, Patreon has paid out more than $2.5 billion to creators, and are now on pace to pay out over $100 million every month.

Patreon's design team is small, but growing. The opportunity for impact on the product, and on millions of creators and patrons around the world, can't be overstated. The team is dedicated to leveling up the craft of Patreon's products, shipping beautiful experiences, and building the best tools to help anyone make a living on the internet.

If you're a designer looking for your next level up, get in touch with Patreon's design team and tell them we sent you!

Golden Ratio Supporters:

Patreon — Patreon is hiring product designers in San Francisco and New York City to build the future of the creator economy. Join their small team and level up today.

Sympli — Designers and developers working together need control over their assets. Sympli tracks every version of every design: no guessing what changed, no lost files or overwritten work, development-ready specs. Learn more at Sympli.io.

Play — Play is the first native iOS design tool made for teams creating mobile products. Design, prototype, and collaborate, directly from your phone. With Play you can experience your design as you create it while taking full advantage of native iOS features not found in other design and prototyping tools. Full access invites available for the first 25 people here!

The Sidebar:

The Sidebar is an exclusive weekly segment for our Patreon supporters. You can subscribe starting at $1 per month for access to bonus content going forward! Sign up at patreon.com/designdetails.

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Main Topic:

This week, we discuss the humble cursor and its role in affording interactivity in software design.

Anonymous asks: Hey Brian and Marshall, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the use of the hand pointer cursor icon for clickable elements. Windows, macOS, and HTML seem pretty clear that it is intended only for links which lack the visual affordance that buttons have while Material design and seemingly most web apps embrace the hand for all clickable elements. I haven't found what the official rationale is for using the hand everywhere and I'm also curious what users most expect at this point.

Cool Things:

  • Brian shared Mimestream, a native macOS email client for Gmail. It's fast, looks and feels great, and is a worthy replacement for the stock Mail app on macOS.
  • Marshall shared An Evening With Silk Sonic by Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, and Silk Sonic. Listen on Apple Music or Spotify.

Design Details on the Web:

Byeee!

The Sidebar:

In this week’s Sidebar, we talk about the long term impact of the features we build, the importance of smart defaults, and the value of time well spent in our products.

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