Creating a simple “Tile” button in HTML/CSS and as an ASP.NET MVC HtmlHelper

If you have worked with SharePoint 2013, you may have noticed a “tile” button. Something that looks like this:

image image

Normal State

On mouse over (hover)


This looks good (at least to me) and I wanted to find a simple way to create such a button. I’m mainly a XAML guy, and can create something like this VERY easily in XAML; and I can reuse this as a single unit, like a button. But with HTML, it’s a little different. To make this a reusable component, I’ll use ASP.NET MVC and make this a HtmlHelper. For this reason, I wanted to build this without JavaScript – it’s easier to create a HtmlHelper with just HTML and CSS.

To start things off, I created a plain HTML/CSS version of the Tile button:

<div class="tile" style="background:url(‘Pic.jpg'); background-size:200px 200px" >
      <div class="caption" onclick="alert('Hi!');" >
            <p>Some caption</p>
            <p id="description">Some lengthy description that may potentially overflow into two lines</p>

And the CSS:

    height: 200px;
    width: 200px;
    overflow: hidden;
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
    max-width: 100%;
    text-align: center;
    vertical-align: middle;
    background-size:200px 200px;
    background-color: rgba(50,50,50,0.4);
    overflow: hidden;
    color: #fff;
    font-weight: bold;
    margin: 150px 0px 0px 0px;
    height: 200px;
    width: 200px;
.caption:hover {
    transition: margin .5s;
    margin: 0px 0px 20px 0px;
    background-color: rgba(50,50,50,0.4);
    cursor: pointer;
    overflow: hidden;
    margin: 25px 0px 0px 0px;

I’ve used CSS3 transitions for the smooth animation, and it works beautifully on most modern browsers.

Next, I wanted to make this a reusable control and not leave it as just a bunch of HTML tags that has to be repeated all over.

Creating an ASP.NET MVC HtmlHelper

Less talk, more code 😀

public static class MyHelpers
        public static MvcHtmlString TileButton(string backgroundUrl, string jsAction, 
            string caption, string description = "")
            var outerDiv = new TagBuilder("div");
            var captionDiv = new TagBuilder("div");
            var captionP = new TagBuilder("p");
            var descP = new TagBuilder("p");
            //       background-size:200px 200px"
                "background:url(" + backgroundUrl + "); background-size:200px 200px");
            captionDiv.MergeAttribute("onclick", jsAction);
            captionDiv.InnerHtml = captionP.ToString() + descP.ToString();
            outerDiv.InnerHtml = captionDiv.ToString();
            return new MvcHtmlString(outerDiv.ToString());

The code is pretty simple, so at an overview level, ’m using TagBuilder to create the components that I used in HTML for the tile. I’m going to reuse the same CSS I used earlier, and have copied it to the site.css file in the Content folder in a new ASP.NET MVC project.

And although I could’ve created this as an extension method to the HtmlHelper class, I created this as a static method to start with, so I can use it like this in my views:


"alert('Hi');", "Caption", "Some lengthy description")

And, that’s about it! A short post this time – and hopefully simple enough.

If you think this can be improved, please mention what approach you would take to implement this.

Thanks for reading!


PS: You can follow me on twitter at “_amarnit”, where I share some quick tips/learning at times!

Comments (3)
  1. Sumit Chachadi says:

    Pretty good one with minimal CSS.

  2. PgS_ says:

    very nice post!! If I might share a little tweak I made to it:

    I placed the transition on the main .caption class, and not on :hover, and modified it to

    .caption {


       width: 200px;

       transition: margin .5s ease-in-out;


    this allows for the 'reverse' animation on ending the hover.

  3. Thanks Sumit!

    PgS_, Thank you for sharing! That's a good tweak 🙂

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