Setting focus and highlighting items

When an item on a screen is in focus, users can initiate an action on the item.

When users use a trackpad, they can move the highlight to set focus on an item. Then they can act on the highlighted item by clicking the trackpad or using the menu. When users use a touch screen, they interact directly with items on the screen using a finger. When users interact with an item, the highlight helps them identify the item that they are initiating the action on.

This screen shows a highlighted item in a list.

Cursors and pointers

When users use a trackpad, they can move a cursor or pointer to set focus on an item on a screen. The cursor or pointer icon can change to indicate its current behavior.

The following cursors and pointers appear in BlackBerry applications:

Cursor or pointer



The arrow pointer indicates the position of the cursor on a web page.


The hand pointer indicates the position of the cursor when users pause on a link.

Magnifying glass

The magnifying pointer indicates that users can zoom in to or out from a section on the screen.


The caret cursor indicates the position of the cursor in a text field that users can type in.


The text cursor indicates that the cursor is positioned over a text area in the browser.

Best practice: Setting focus and highlighting items

  • In most cases, when a screen, dialog box, or menu opens, make sure that one item on the screen has focus. This practice is important if users interact with items indirectly using a trackpad. Set focus on the primary item or action. For example, in lists, set focus on the first item in the list. However, if users leave a screen, save the position of the focus so that if users return to the screen, the last item in focus displays.
  • Avoid allowing focus on items that users cannot initiate an action on (for example, disabled components).
  • If you create custom UI components, choose a highlight color that has high contrast and clearly implies focus (for example, white text on a blue background). Use the same highlight color for all UI components.
  • Avoid changing the font, font size, or font style for highlighted text or items.

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