Cursors can have a significant impact on your site’s user experience – when implemented correctly. In a simple line of code, cursors pack what may seem like an obvious bit of interaction design. The different GUI cursor pointers aid in UI interaction by indicating to the user what they can do with the page element they’re hovering over.
For instance, when you see the white mouse cursor change to the i-beam cursor you know that the area you’re pointing at allows you to enter (or manipulate) text. Though some of the cursor styles – such as the white mouse, i-beam (text), and gloved hand cursor – are built-in to the user’s browser by default, CSS allows developers to redefine those properties to display a number of different cursors.
This code snippet generator tool was designed to help you add different cursor styles to your WordPress themes. Read on to find out more about cursors and how to determine when to use which one. We’ll also show you how you can identify a CSS selector and get started with using this tool.
How Do I Know Which Cursor to Use When?
Some of the most common cursor styles are built into the browser’s User Agent Stylesheet – the default styles that browsers apply to web pages. For instance, when we add the
</a> tags to some text, the links enclosed in them will (in most cases) be blue and underlined. And when a user hovers over the text link, the cursor changes from the default white mouse pointer to a gloved hand.
Sometimes, however, the default cursor style specified in the browser’s User Agent Stylesheet just doesn’t cut it. Enter custom CSS for cursors.
Custom CSS for cursors allows developers to change the cursor’s display and functionality to something that better reflects how the user should interact with the page element. Suppose you have a form that requires input from the user, you’ll want to display an i-beam (or text) cursor indicating that the user can enter text in that element. Or perhaps you want to allow visitors to know when a particular task in in progress, you can choose to display the progress cursor over that specific page element.
But how do you know when to make the cursor change? As a general rule: when the default cursor doesn’t offer much insight, try to match the page element’s cursor to it’s behavior. Whenever there is a need to better communicate to the user which objects (page elements) are interactive and how they can be manipulated, use a styled cursor.
How Do I Identify a CSS Selector?
The first thing you’ll need to do is determine which part of your theme you’d like to alter. Once you’ve selected a page element, you’ll need to identify its class (.class-name) or ID (#id) using Chrome’s Inspect tool. Here’s how:
- Right-click the page element you wish to inspect.
- Click the Inspect menu item (in case of the Chrome browser).
- The CSS styles for each element are shown in a separate preview pane on the right side of the browser window.
- The most dominant selector (.class or #id) will be shown first in the list.
If you’re still unable to find the .class or #id, please visit the WordPress Codex for more information on how to identify a selector. With that out of the way, let’s take a look at how you can use this custom CSS for cursors tool to generate a code snippet for your WordPress theme.
How Do I Use This Custom CSS for Cursors Snippet Generator Tool?
Customizing cursor styles with CSS allows users to deliver better user experience to their site’s viewership. With this in mind, we’ve put together this code snippet tool to help both seasoned developers and first-time theme builders integrate custom cursors into their WordPress themes.
To get started with using this tool, enter the selector of the page element you’re targeting and specify which selector you’d like to have displayed on the web page. The code generator will output a custom code for you that will work seamlessly on all major web browsers.
Let’s take a look at each individual field:
- Selector: Enter the selector you want to target here. It should be in all lowercase letters and hyphens e.g. .class-name. We outlined how to find a CSS selector in your WordPress theme in the previous section.
- Cursor Type: Select one of the 37 cursor types options to specify the type of cursor to display when a user points at a page element. By default, the cursor type is set to auto.
- Once you’ve entered all of the required fields, head over to the Code tab. You’ll see that the Your Custom CSS area is populated with a custom code snippet for adding a custom cursor effect with CSS in your WordPress theme.
How Do I Add the Code Snippet to My Website?
The easiest way to add the generated code snippet to your site is by pasting it directly into your current theme’s style.css file. You can edit it directly by navigating to Appearance > Editor from the WordPress admin panel.
Alternatively, you can download the active theme’s style.css file to your desktop via an FTP client. Next, open it up in a text editor and paste the generated custom code snippet at the bottom of the file. Remember to click the Save button and re-upload the updated style.css file to your theme’s directory when you’re done.
Though most web browsers display appropriate cursors in the most common use case scenarios, implementing custom cursor styles allows you to improve user experience and add an extra little bit of oomph to your page’s design. Hopefully, this code snippet generator tool will save you some time and effort from having to hand-code customized cursor styles for your WordPress themes.
Do you have any questions about how to use the Custom CSS for Cursors code snippet generator tool? Let us know in the comments section below!