Mac OS X’s Mail: Clicking on that ‘Send’ button

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Mail
December 10th, 2010 • 12:17 pm

Am I really the only one who’s regularly affected/annoyed by this?

When I compose a message in Mac OS X’s Mail and then go to the toolbar to click on the “Send” button to send it, I regularly manage to hit a “dead” spot when clicking does nothing, even though my mouse is clearly—as far as I am concerned—somewhere over the button.

Upon further investigation, it looks like the area I am hitting is this one:

Mail - Send button

I don’t know about you, but to me this is an area that should be considered part of the clickable area for the “Send” button. Yet it is not. Clicking on this does nothing, except if you click-and-hold and then drag the mouse pointer, in which case it moves the whole message window, because effectively what you are clicking on is the background of the window’s title/toolbar, which acts as the general target area for clicking-and-dragging to move the window around.

To me, this particular area should clearly be part of the button, because it is well within the width defined by the button icon, and it is between the button icon and the button text label.

Yet for some reason Apple has designed things so that this particular area between the button icon and the button text label is not part of the clickable area. In order to click on the “Send” button, you must click either on the icon itself or on the text label itself. And if the text label is not as wide as the button icon, then there is a “dead” area where clicking does nothing.

Things are not helped by the way the button visually responds to hovering over it with the mouse pointer. If you hover over the button icon, the button switches to a darker shade of grey for its background:

Mail - Send button

But if you hover over the button text label, there is no visual indication that you are hovering over a clickable area:

Mail - Send button

You are just supposed to know that clicking on the text label also works. But where does the clickable area defined by the text label start and stop exactly? There is no way to tell, since there is no change in colour to indicate that it is ready to respond to a click.

This is all the more absurd since when you do click on the text label, the button icon does changes to the even darker shade of grey that indicates that you are currently clicking on the button:

Mail - Send button

If it does change to that darker shade of grey for mouse-down, why does it not change to the medium shade of grey for mouse-over?

It just does not make sense. Two improvements are required here: the button icon should change to the medium-dark shade of grey when the mouse hovers over the text label too, and the clickable area for the text label should always be at least as wide as the button icon itself, even if the length of the text label is shorter than that width.

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