How Apple can fix 3D Touch

I should start with the obvious. 3D Touch is broken! The user experience is far from great. Apple introduced 3D Touch and its new related interactions Peek and Pop in 2014. It’s been almost 4 years since its first introduction, yet people don’t know/use 3D Touch. Why would they? Even tech-savvy users don’t know which buttons offer 3D touch. Let alone regular users.

What would happen if we decide to make all links same color and style as the regular text? People would not know what to click on right? Why is 3D Touch be any different? We rely on our vision to decide actionability before anything else. If you can’t distinguish 3D Touchable buttons from those that are not, how are you supposed to know you can press on them? Look at this screenshot and see if you can tell which of the buttons can be 3D Touched.

iOS 11 Control Center

Not all of these buttons can be 3D Touched. How are you supposed to know which is which? The only possible thing you can do is try 3D Touch and remember it. And to make things worse, 3D Touch is not a gimmick anymore. You need to know you should be pressing hard on the “4 Button Control” to access “Personal Hotspot” or “AirDrop” toggles.

Now that we know what the problem is, here is my solution. Like we did with the link texts years ago on the web, we should visually distinguish 3D Touchable buttons. Look at this same screen and see if you can tell which toggles accept 3D Touch.

iOS 11 Control Center with Force Decorators

My solution is adding a line on bottom-right of things that can be 3D Touched. Let’s call them Force Decorators (with reference to Force Touch).

Notifications with Force Decorators
Mail with Force Decorators

3D Touch is missing the most obvious thing to be mainstream. Visual cues. I think this is the answer.

What do you think about this?


You can reach me at Twitter at twitter.com/eliz_kilic. Thanks designcode.io for awesome Sketch resources.

Here is my response to most common questions: https://medium.com/@eliz_kilic/i-have-been-getting-a-lot-of-positive-response-for-force-decorators-idea-90c20715d230