Gesture recognition is the unexplored lighthouse in the grand ocean of UX design. Need a simpler definition? How’s this?
Gesture recognition, or in-app gestures, are the touch mechanics and touch activities users perform on their electronic devices.
From taps to twists to tilts, in-app gestures are common on computers, smartphones, music players and watches – any device with online or mobile connectivity.
When in-app gestures are done well, they are intuitive. They may need a one-time-only prompt, but that’s it. The key is to use gestures in a way that not only delivers a seamless user experience, but also creates a unique product identity.
Take Tinder, for instance.
Tinder became an overnight sensation with a simple left-and-right swipe gesture. It was such an intuitive and easy-to-use gesture that the competition was left in the dust.
Tinder now gets more than 1.6 billion swipes daily, making it a $3 billion app. (source)
The chatting application, WeChat, also managed to gain user attention with a simple swipe gesture. With one swipe of a finger, your WeChat message sails across the seven seas in an instant.
Yet, while the prominence and acceptance of in-app gestures has benefitted many apps, there is still a graveyard full of applications that didn’t get the design right.
Worse yet, many developers hide their gestures. Thus, endless coding hours end up hoping to be discovered under blog titles like “15 Secret Gestures Hidden Inside Your Favorite Android Apps.”
If you have to write a blog about your in-app gestures to get notice, you’re doing it wrong.
Instead, try following these simple four rules to in-app gesture success.
1. Convey Your Gestures as Dialogues, not Monologues
Imagine you had a hectic day at the office and now that you’re home, all you want to do is doze off to some soothing songs. But, as soon as you access YouTube, you’re welcomed by 14 tutorial cards about their gesture updates.
That won’t be a pleasant experience for you, or for Chad Hurley and Steve Chen later.
It is essential to communicate gestures in a way that’s not too flashy and that won’t inconvenience the user. So, quickly demonstrate the new gesture in the context of the action, meaning the specific action the user needs to perform in this one instance.
Try something like this:
2. Create a Task List of Implied Gestures, then Edit to the Best Choices
It is obvious that in your WhatsApp conversation means happiness and means anger. In the same manner, it must be obvious for mobile app users that with a tap, files open in any file manager app, or that with a spread or pinch, an image will zoom in or out.
Your app’s gestures must come naturally to the users. Vet your list and cut all the gestures that don’t cut the mustard. Then you’ll have a UI with implied in-app gestures that ensures a seamless app experience.
3. Deliver gestures as convenience, not as confusion to the users
Imagine a racecar driver entering their vehicle and finding the dashboard of a pilot’s cockpit. They wouldn’t know what the heck is going on!
Yet, this is what happens to many app users.
Your gestures must be placed in a manner that works within the context of your new or existing application. The less brainpower it takes for a user to figure out a gesture, the more successful your app becomes.
Also, make your gestures unique.
Here are the gesture functions for Apple’s iMessage:
- Tap with one Finger to send a Circle
- Press with one finger to send a Fireball
- Tap with two fingers to send a Kiss
- Tap and Hold with two fingers to send a Heartbeat
- Tap and hold with two fingers, then drag to send a Heartbreak
Um, what was all that again? Want to venture a guess at how many people have messed these up?
4. Replace scrolls with swipes
Consider this a viral trend rather than a proven strategy. If you prefer scrolls, blame Tinder. The concept behind swiping was termed card stack design, and the basic principle is to induce swipes over scrolls.
Proponents of card stack design believe swipes are an enhanced way to convey any type of content and ensure better user engagement. It is like leaving a trail of breadcrumbs so the user keeps engaged, while also limiting distractions.
A Few More Words of Wisdom
Apart from applying these four functionalities, it’s important to think of the big goals of your unique in-app gesture. Ask yourself these three questions:
1. How does this in-app gesture define our product?
2. How does this in-app gesture relate to a user’s daily life?
3. Does this in-app gesture fulfill an important purpose of the application?
There is an amazing change in the wind for mobile in-app gestures. You want to ensure your app is sailing toward the land of greatness, not the ocean’s doldrums.
One unique gesture really can set the course. If you need a navigator, Cygnet Infotech is by your side.
Get in touch with us today and let’s start planning!