Remember the days when hovering and clicking using the mouse were the most used trigger for interaction with site or app? Those days are gone. When Apple introduced the iPhone, multi-touch technology became mainstream and users learned that they could not only point and tap on the interface, but also pinch, spread, and swipe. Gestures are the new clicks.
Touch Gesture Cards ( Image credit ) (Large preview) The rise of touch and gesture-driven devices has dramatically changed the way we think about interaction. Gestures are more than merely entertaining, they are very useful and feel familiar. Today, the success of a mobile app significantly depends on how well gestures are implemented into the user experience.
The main reason gesture controls feel so natural and intuitive to us is because they resemble interacting with a real object. There are three main reasons to use a gesture over a button:
The more an app relies on gesture controls, the less buttons appear onscreen, leaving more space for valuable content. This makes the app content-focused and lets the user do what’s most important without obstructions or distractions.
Ease of Use
A gesture, once discovered and learned by a user can become a delightful part of the user experience and can improve interaction by reducing steps in the user flow. For example, when you need to delete items on a mobile device, tapping one item at a time to delete is time consuming. A simple shortcut is to swipe to delete.
While buttons might seem to be useful triggers, gestures have great potential to make interaction with content more intuitive.
Clear is a good example of a “gesture driven” app. The app is based solely on the use of gestures: swipes, pulls, and pinches. It has a minimalist user interface (there are no buttons), and yet, it’s surprisingly simple to use.
Gestures in Clear app for iOS ( Image credit ) (Large preview) The Role Of Animations In Gesture-Based Design
Gestures are invariably linked to animations in mobile apps. Animations play a very important role in maintaining an illusion of interactivity for users . When paired with gestures, animation essentially makes the brain believe that it’s interacting with tangible objects.
Also, animation is invaluable in providing visual feedback to the user . Without animations, users wouldn’t have enough feedback informing them if they’ve successfully completed a gestural action.
Even a very innovative gestural interaction, such as Pull-To-Refresh , paired with animation has become standard. It feels so intuitive that countless list-based applications adopted this gesture simply by convention.