Understanding philosophy of touch gestures in particular touch-hold

    General discussion

  • Hi all,

    Just want to reach out and touch your thoughts... ;)

    In many UI's of apple/android/winphone and windows the "way" appears to be "touch hold" for right click type context "acquisition". More recently various apps are implementing the (I feel) very quick and convenient "flick to dismiss" (delete, archive, other) type of functionality (and if its any good, it will have an equally as quick "UNDO" for those times when you didn't actually want to do that...).

    This is one of the key things I struggle with in Win8 is in some UI's you need to swipe left/right to select but others up/down (based, I think, on the scroll direction of the list you are trying to select within).

    So my point of discussion is "what's right" (not really, things are never that black and white)... more so I wanted to query what the pros/cons might be as everyone sees it.

    * I feel a big disadvantage is that "up/down" "left/right" are things you get used to (muscle memory?) and flipping it constantly is a little jarring... however perhaps "same direction within an app" is as much consistency as you need? Thoughts?

    * Where is flick to dismiss "okay" (and even more so "expected"?) - eg: flick to delete or dismiss an email, vs changing the "page view" to "all messages"... where do you make this decision? Is it conceivable to make this configurable for the user?

    * Would it be "too much" to configure "flick left to do action X, flick right to do action Y" - is that becoming too complex? eg: left to delete, right to archive/mark read - is that kind of thing too hard to implement?!

    Finally, I haven't looked extensively, but I have looked and not found any kind of philosophical guidance for this kind of UI/UX design... from what I see, many developers either follow the guidance laid before them by the platform manufacturers - which is primarily (and presumably deliberately, so as not to stifle innovative use of the platform) very generic and high level, or they "go for broke" with their own design sensibilities (some more sensible than others) which IMO is very hit and miss (but not completely without merit).

    Does anyone have good research/advice/experience/guidance on "touch UI" - or is there some kind of WCAG (yes its completely different, but hopefully you get the similarity I'm trying to draw) like thing for unifying/standardizing gesture based interfaces? Not that I think they need to be standardized and thereby destroy experimentation, but there needs to be SOME kind of baseline of some kind... its probably a very delicate balance... maybe its too early to get a "proper" answer to this kind of discussion...

    Appologies if this is something that has been done before, but I've been unable to find any truly helpful information on these things anywhere in the Apple/Google/Microsoft "spheres" (listed alphabetically only) - perhaps I need to look further afield to universities or research institutions? Any suggestions?

    • Edited by noJedi Monday, June 24, 2013 4:39 AM
    Monday, June 24, 2013 4:38 AM