These guidelines summarize how GitHub implements progressive disclosure—an interaction design pattern that hides/shows information—as well as guiding principles, best practices, and implementation support.
When designing interfaces that incorporate progressive disclosure, refrain from creating interactions that drastically disorient the user’s initial point of focus.
It's important to understand the difference between progressive disclosure and navigation patterns. Because the two share common elements, it can be confusing when deciding which type to implement.
Please refer to these guidelines as they detail in-use solutions, and outline best practices for implementation. If you need more help, refer to the support section of this article for how to get in touch.
Pair progressive disclosure icons with descriptive text to provide context.
Progressive disclosure should be used sparingly, when it’s necessary to truncate information for the general layout/design.
The following table outlines common progressive disclosure solutions in use at GitHub.
|Chevron icon||When elements of content are collapsed and can be toggled open||Do not use this icon to trigger a dropdown menus or navigation; the caret icon is the more suitable for this.|
|Fold/Unfold icon||Signify that there is content (typically text) to be revealed||Should generally stand alone, rather than being paired with text|
|Ellipsis icon||For toggling truncated inline text content||Do not use this icon to trigger a dropdown menus or navigation; the Kebab icon is the more suitable for this.|
|Text-only toggles||Usage of this solution is discouraged, as generally icons or icon+text pairings provide better accessibility and more information|
|Kebab||N/A||For toggling inline dropdowns and menus|
|Caret||N/A||Refrain from using this icon as a progressive disclosure solution|
The chevron icon is used when elements of content are collapsed and can be toggled open. Typically this icon is positioned vertically, and alternates between “up” and “down” states. This icon is quite flexible, and can stand alone, or be paired with text.
Chevron icon used to display more branches in mobile view
Utilize appropriate text in scenarios to provide clarity
Don't use the chevron to trigger dropdowns
This icon is used to signify that there is content that can be toggled open and closed. It is typically surrounded by text content above and below it. There are currently versions of this icon that expand the context in a singular direction, but are only used in GitHub’s code review editor.
Fold/Unfold Icon used in Profiles context
Use this icon to show content expansion in the code editor
Don't pair this icon with lengthy text
The ellipsis icon is used for toggling truncated inline text content. Its primary purpose is to serve as a method that designers to use to curtail bodies of texts, but sometimes other types of information.
Use this icon to give users the option to toggle the amount of text being displayed
Don't substitute a Kebab icon in the place of an ellipsis
If or when certain progressive disclosure patterns emerge in your design, or you believe a certain solution should be made into a component, reach out to the #design-systems channel on Slack to discuss how you can submit your code or idea. You may also reach out by opening an issue to the Design Systems team directly on GitHub.
Progressive disclosure can be tricky to implement, and certain designs and scenarios may test the bounds of our design guidelines. If you have further questions or need clarity on implementation, please get in touch via the #design-systems channel on Slack.