Designers: Don't cover what I'm looking at!

Something that’s always frustrated me are websites that darken an image in order to overlay a button or some info when I put my mouse over it.

Hey, I wanted to look at that – don’t cover it!

It seems to be, based on no research whatsoever, that this has been a commonplace “design feature” ever since the time people absolutely needed to see animations when buying their $9 Wordpress theme.

Seriously, please stop it.

We all know that many users intuitively track their mouse cursor over where they look – there’s even research to prove it! Furthermore, it’s that premise which drives businesses that designers themselves use to track the effectiveness of a design. So if we know that’s what we do, why would you cover what I’m trying to see?

Doing it in a gallery is terrible for user experience: Don't cover what I'm looking at!

Or maybe worse: cover an entire half of a website! Don't cover what I'm looking at!

Also, what’s with the vague icons they always seem to use? Search icons, generic circular arrows, carats… wtf.

Don't cover what I'm looking at!
Don't cover what I'm looking at!
Don't cover what I'm looking at!

I get it - I really do. Call to action, conversions, CLICK ME!! But really? at the expense of the most basic of user experience? Ya know, seeing… No. Just no.

Anyway, point is I put my mouse over the thing I want to look at - please don’t darken or black it out when I do.

Can we all agree to stop this? Let’s start by suggesting better alternatives on questions on StackOverflow, and sending feedback to theme creators that continue this practice.

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