So I’m working on adding a little button to a Firefox toolbar. If you click the button, it performs a default action. If you click a little arrow next to the button, it produces a menupopup from which you may choose another action. For an example, check out the Forward and Back buttons in Firefox. Clicking the main button moves you forward or backward; clicking the arrow produces a list of where you’ve been or where you can go. The thing is that by default, this sort of toolbar button is kind of big, and I want a tiny, unobtrusive little button. So I’ve been experimenting with different ways of implementing the button. In one case, it’s fairly small, but it’s got an extra arrow icon and has some extra horizontal space as a label placeholder, even though I don’t want a label.
My latest iteration breaks new ground in UI design. If you look carefully, you’ll see that there’s a little green bullet sort of thing (an icon squished down) and then a button wrapped around this small button in the shape of a sideways “U.” If you click the wrapping button, sure enough, you get the popup. If you click the inner button, you get the default behavior. I fully expect this sort of button to begin appearing in software packages very soon.