Safari 2.0: Where is the hand cursor?

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
June 1st, 2007 • 3:16 pm

This is something that has been bugging me for a long time, and is showing no sign of going away.

Quite often, when I visit a web site with Safari, and I hover over items that are supposed to be active links to other pages/sites, the cursor / mouse pointer icon fails to change from the generic black arrow to the hand symbol that is supposed to indicate the presence of a link.

Either the hand symbol never appears at all, or it appears for a fraction of a second and then the cursor changes back to the black arrow.

I know that I am hovering above an active link, because the URL appears in the status bar at the bottom of the Safari window, and if I click the item does respond as a link, i.e. it takes me to another page or opens another page in a new window.

I know that web sites can be complex things, with all kinds of JavaScript scripts and other “dynamic” stuff that can interfere with the normal rendering of the page and can affect the behaviour of the mouse pointer.

But this particular problem happens very often in Safari, and not just with complex web sites that can be suspected of not being 100% compatible with Safari.

For example, this iView Multimedia support page has all kinds of links to various sections. When I load the page in Safari, as I hover above the links, the cursor changes to a hand symbol for a fraction of a second, and then changes back to the arrow.

If I load the exact same page in Camino, I have no problems at all. The hand symbol appears as expected when hovering above the links, and stays there.

What’s so hard about this particular behaviour that makes it such a long-standing problem in Safari? I remember seeing this problem from the very first version of Safari several years ago, and it’s still there today.

It is not a huge problem in that the absence of the change to the hand symbol does not affect the ability to click on the link. But it’s annoying nonetheless, and it seems to me that this is something that a mature browser such as Safari, on a platform that prides itself on user-friendliness and attention to detail, should be able to get right 100% of the time—especially since an open source alternative such as Camino does get it right.

[UPDATE: It looks like the issue involves more factors and is more complex than initially thought. A reader points out that he does not have the problem with the page I mention on his machine in Safari, and I don’t have the problem in Safari in another user environment on my machine. But I definitely have it here in my normal user environment right now. This actually confirms the impression that I have developed over time, which is that it is an intermittent problem with Safari, with certain pages, under certain circumstances. I distinctly remember experiencing the problem at times with sites where I don’t normally experience it. So the problem comes and goes. It doesn’t make it less annoying, but it certainly makes it much more difficulty to identify the causes.]

One Response to “Safari 2.0: Where is the hand cursor?”

  1. Arden says:

    I’ve noticed something similar to this. On occasion, Safari won’t show the pointer finger cursor, and it also fails to render a:hover links properly (as in, hovering does nothing). I’ve found that clicking just about anywhere on the page—link or not—fixes the problem, at least for the moment, and then I think of it no more.

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