Stop Using “Dropdown”

Programming - Mar 31, 2024

Adrian Roselli notes that it might actually mean:

  • A <select> menu
  • An ARIA Listbox, Combobox, Menu, or Disclosure Widget
  • An input with a <datalist>
  • An input with autocomplete
  • A <details><summary> block
  • An accordion
  • Flyout navigation

In my own usage, I tend to mean “A UI pattern where you click/tap a small thing and a big thing opens.” An aria-expanded situation, like, say, the user avatar on CodePen that you click to expand user-specific actions and navigation. “Menu” feels right to me, although I’m not sure that’s much of an improvement.

I take the point. Dropdown doesn’t actually mean anything and that ambiguity may hurt conversation and understanding.

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