The Australian Government coat of Arms

Communities of practice

Communities of practice

Glossary item

myGov Beta component

The glossary item is used for words in a page that may require further explanation for the user to understand what they mean.

The word is displayed with a dotted underline. On hover, the cursor changes (showing a question mark cursor) and the word is highlighted with a pale blue background. On click, a modal appears to explain the word in further detail.

Rationale for submission:
No equivalent component in DTA Design System. Arms users with the knowledge to make choices that are right for them.

UX owner: Tobias Ogle
VD owner: Rachel Bell

InVision link:



Sketch file:
DTA-29-Glossary item.sketch (527.9 KB)

Hmm, I disagree with adding this as a component to the design system.

While I understand why you’ve gone with modals, particularly in the context of a busy portal, I’m fairly against using them for glossary items.

Implementation of modals is notoriously bad already. If a page is littered with jargon, it would be harder for a mobile user to easily navigate without accidentally firing the modals and stealing focus. There’s already a discussion about modals: Modal alert

The glossary item examples on both MDN and W3 is to link off to other dedicated glossary pages, though I think this might be overkill.

If you’re looking for a Government example: for the National Redress Scheme, DSS used a “Words used on this page” component which is dynamic depending on the content. I like this approach. No focus-stealing modals, and no massive glossary page with everything.