Join David Hogue for an in-depth discussion in this video Gestures, part of UX Foundations: Interaction Design.
- [Instructor] Gestures are often more complex touch interactions and come in a variety of forms. Beyond tap, double-tap, and long or hard press, we commonly use scroll, pan, drag, swipe, flick, pinch, spread, rotate, and multi-touch on touchscreens. Gestures may also include physical interactions with the device itself, such as orienting the device, shaking it, or flipping it over. Pressure and duration of press, that is, hard or long press, may be used to reveal additional content and functionality.
Like the right-click on a mouse, a hard or a long press enables additional actions and interactions. Unfortunately, these interactions are often available but lack strong cues or signals that a hard or a long press may be applied. We need to rely on instructions, suggestions, or demonstrations to show people that hard or a long press is available. People then need to learn through practice and experience where the interaction may or may not be used.
Our biggest challenge designing for gestures is that the opportunities to interact often lack strong signals or cues. For example, a navigation menu may be accessed by tapping on the menu button and by swiping from left to right from the left edge of the screen. The menu button is a perceivable signal, but the swipe gesture is hidden. We rely on people discovering that the gesture is available, trying gestures they have learned in prior experiences, or being explicitly instructed.
We can use motion and animation to lead people toward gestural interactions. We'll discuss more about motion later in this chapter. Another challenge with gestures is that they may be arbitrary and vary across different products. Multi-touch gestures, such as taps and swipes with two, three, or even more fingers, are used for a wide range of functionality from navigation to content editing, and the gesture is often unrelated to the actual function it serves.
When the same gesture is used in different ways under different conditions across different products, they're difficult to learn and easy to confuse. Gestures leave no trace. Once performed, there is no record of which gesture was made. There is no instant replay for people to see what they just did. People sometimes mistakenly interact with products by gesture without realizing what they've done. They may find themselves in a new place or state of the product and not know how to undo or return.
In the worst case, they may have accidentally performed an action which is very difficult or impossible to reverse such as deleting a photo or email with an accidental swipe, if they even notice that something happened. Even if the outcome of an accidental gestural interaction is desirable, arbitrary and hidden gestures make it very hard to know what one did and how to replicate it. Unfortunately, there is no standardization in the use of many gestures.
Continue to use instructions and demonstrations to help people understand how to interact with more complex gestures. Use arbitrary and complex gestures with caution, because they're different to discover and learn. Create signals and cues to indicate that gestural interactions are available, such as motion to hint that hidden or offscreen elements may be brought into view. And leverage people's prior experience and learning from across products by using familiar design patterns and consistent gestures.
- What is interaction design?
- Learning behaviors
- Theories of emotion
- Designing for delight
- Classical and operant conditioning
- Using learned behavior
- Interface design principles
- Design thinking
- Defining microinteractions
- Error handling
- Usability and accessibility