I'm looking for the common names of the four basic control states (for desktop interfaces):

  1. Control is in its default state;
  2. Cursor is hovering above the control;
  3. Control is being pressed;
  4. Control is being held down, but the cursor is outside its pressing zone

So far I could come up with the following names:

  1. default;
  2. under cursor;
  3. pressed under cursor;
  4. pressed

But I don't think those are very good. Shorter and more intuitive names would look much better in code. Perhaps there are common names for each of these states?


For desktop interfaces (wpf on .net) I use:

Normal, MouseOver, Pressed, Selected (and Disabled)

And then as different categories check states: Unchecked, Checked, (Indeterminate), and focus states: Unfocused, Focused.

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  • Thanks! I think I'll go with these names. And then I'll also include the disabled state support for future. – user1306322 Aug 12 '13 at 10:55

Normal, Hover, Active, Focus -- These are what I would consider being most common (a la HTML)

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On, Hover or Over, and Click are the first three. But so far as I've seen, if you slide the cursor off the "button" while continuing to click, it doesn't register as a click, so I don't know why you'd need to define it as a state.

ETA KitP suggests "Focus" in the comments below for the fourth state.

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  • The fourth state must definitely look differently than the third state, since they produce different results when the mouse button is released. – user1306322 Aug 12 '13 at 10:31
  • @user1306322 Such as? – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Aug 12 '13 at 10:32
  • As you said, if mouse button is released outside the control, nothing happens. And user must be able to guess that releasing the button outside the control will produce a different result (no result actually). I'm talking about buttons here, other controls may not require such a state, though. – user1306322 Aug 12 '13 at 10:33
  • 1
    The 4th state you describe could be Focus(ed). As in the button or element has focus but is not being pressed or hovered over. – KitP Aug 12 '13 at 10:39
  • @KitP That's probably as good a term as any, and fairly intuitive. I'll edit and credit. – Lauren-Clear-Monica-Ipsum Aug 12 '13 at 10:44

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