How come some things in SO have hover effects, examples:

  • category tags: pointer cursor and color changes
  • "Add Comment" button: cursor pointer
  • comments upvote and flag: pointer cursor and image/color change
  • answer "link" links: pointer cursor and background color change
  • answer and question "flag" links: pointer cursor and background color change
  • answer and question "add comment" links: pointer cursor and background color change
  • sections tabs/links ("Questions", "Tags", "Users", "Badges", "Unanswered", "Ask Question:): pointer cursor and background color change
  • messages link (envelope next to username at top): cursor pointer, no background change

Yet the "Post Your Question" and "Post Your Answer" input buttons don't have anything. No pointer cursor, no background color change, no visual cue to show you're about to click on something important. I find this quite noticeable and very strange. "This is a great comment" link gives nice visual feedback that you'll do something when you click it, but the most crucial aspects of the site - POSTing actual questions and answers gives no feedback on hover. Even the "Add Comment" button which looks very similar to these has cursor:pointer on hover. Is this just because the "Post Your *" buttons do a full page postback? Is this to make it seem more thick-client-ish, like a Windows app? Even Windows gives buttons a three-dimensional feel, so they stick out and look clickable, unlike here.

1 Answer 1


Interestingly, the default in HTML is for buttons to have a standard arrow cursor, while links have the hand cursor.

See for yourself:


I think this is increasingly confusing, since links do the same things as buttons, or links will be styled to look as buttons.

And the typical (and well-liked) 37Signals technique of "large button to OK, smaller link to cancel" would result in two different cursor styles by default!

So, we were doing it to the HTML spec, but I agree and we have changed the cursor style on buttons to match links.

  • I think when the inputs (of type=submit or type=button) aren't styled differently to be flat, as you linked to above, they stick out and look more intuitively interactive. Here, and at many other sites, style these input types to be different sometimes the flat look can remove that "clickable feeling". Anyhow - thanks for considering and adding the pointer/hand hover effect. Looks good!
    – ironsam
    Commented Aug 6, 2010 at 17:42

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