The Growth of Gestures in the Mobile UX

In light of Instagram miscue wherein the Facebook-owned photo-driven social platform decided to “replace its traditional scrolling with horizontal tap-to-advance, like with Stories,” here’s a deeper dive on the evolution of the interface. Gestures, since their introduction in 2007, have made the mobile experience infinitely more engaging. They are now replacing most visible controls.

Is the gesture an interface?

Yes! It most certainly is. While reading this article, you are scrolling down your screen, which is a gesture cum interface to your screen, i.e., scroll down and scroll up.

Let’s take a look at what’s new and noteworthy just as Instagram “has quietly started testing (accidentally?) a horizontal feed for some users.” But then Instagram head Adam Mosseri tweeted sorry about that.
Taps
When you are just a click away to confirm any service.
Swipes
AHH!! When those annoying push notification needs to be wiped out.
Pinches
When you want details to see — zoom in and zoom out.
Pull
Pull-to-refresh.

Today, UX developers for nearly every mobile app are quickly developing multi-gestures for even more exact results and to make their apps easier to use.

We are about to discuss some of the best trending gestures available today, and the UX benefits they offer.

Gesture-Based Navigation

This is more frequently used than any other way of navigation. It is just a swipe to navigate to the desired location and perform a particular action within the app.

A great number of popular apps now deploy gestures that include swipe, touch, drag, as well as zooming in and out. They help ease the journey between different views within the app.

Instagram also features Gesture-based options for multiple picture selection, e.g., swipe right to right until you get all pictures.

Full-Screen Navigation

The USP of the app and its functions are presented in a coherent style wherein all features are presented without confusing the user.

The coherent style is consistent over the screen, conveying the product and service clearly to the user. Also, a back button takes the user to the home view of the app.

Gesture with Functional Animation

The combination of gestures with animation increases the chance to connect directly with the user.

Animation enhances the clarity in the UI. It brings to life attention and emotion and, by so doing, involves users with the app more readily.

3D Touch

3D touch facilitates quick interactions. iPhone developers first introduced the 3D Touch and its variations in Apple Watch and then in iPhones (starting with the iPhone 6s home screen).

3D touch is quick like pressing firmly on an icon that surfaces a short list of common tasks — click right where the camera icon directly operates in selfie mode or immediately navigate to one’s contacts.
Android soon adopted these extended taps (3D gestures) on its platform.

Light-box–style

This is one of my favorite UI styles to date. It is at the uppermost level of UI gestures with a 3D touch and referred to with a new name- Peek and Pop.
I used it with an image thumbnail.

When the user performs 3D Touch on the thumbnail, it opens a light-box, which contains a preview and “peek” at the content. If the user continues to press, the content will display in detail, i.e., it “pops” over the active screen.

Tab Bar

It provides result in a single click.
There are multiple options displayed in a tab button that leads to different views. The Tab bars’ usability on iOS and Android are different, but there are no consistent rules on mobile websites between iOS or Android.

Finally…

Gestures are like interactions to explore interface and apps comfortably, that is until the app’s UI starts abandoning its users, sometimes.

So many different gestures don’t all need to be applied in the app. They may divert users from the app and waste their time. To design a better UI including gestures with an impactive tool, read my previous article here- UI/UX & its top-notch Prototyping tools

But don’t ever ignore this fact -
The end user is a HUMAN, not a MACHINE. The human can do a lot of gestures on their end to interact with mobile screens. So the UI of an app must be first and foremost human-friendly.
Express your thoughts in the comments over Gestures you are using most to get your interaction with an app.