Gesture controls contribute to easing of interactions with devices, reducing the need for a mouse, remote controls, buttons, and keys. Gestures create richer user experience by combining other advanced user interface technologies such as face recognition and voice commands, thereby fueling the next wave of electronic innovation.
Gestures: A Part Of Mobile UI Design
Users can interact with an application using gestures which are nothing but the movements of finger and thumb. Gestures help us to characterize our interaction with mobile devices. Our non-digital life is certainly full of manual gestures, therefore, transferring gesture command and communication on mobile devices makes the user experience extraordinary more intuitive which point-click mouse controls. While user interacts the web or mobile application via gestures a great level of actual interaction happens and real relation exists between user and device. Therefore, higher the perception of interaction and intuition with your interface better the user experience. But gestures are not just intuitive; they also have certain universal quality when it comes to mobile use.
Responsive was a buzzword only few years ago when it entered the world of web development but today every website need to be viewable on multiple screen sizes in order to increase the mobile usage.
Today, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a site that’s not responsive to some degree, and new developers learn how to create flexible interfaces from the get-go.
Home appliances like refrigerators and washing machines are also getting equipped with touchscreens. The scenario is changed completely. Now the web development is no longer about ensuring that all your words and images get fit in varying screen sizes or not instead now the focus is on that whether your site can be triggered by the swipe of a finger instead of a click of a mouse.
A- Using Gestures For Functionality
Gestures controls work well because they feel natural and intuitive to users and it gives the feeling of reality while interacting with a real life object. Just as while picking a shirt to wear from your wardrobe you do not have to select a button to check whether the shirt is dirty or not, you just grab it. Similarly, using gesture technology, if you are browsing new shirt to buy from an online retail portal you do not have to click on the button instead just grab the screen or pinch in this case in order to have a closer and better look of the shirt. The aim of incorporating gesture technology in your mobile application is to design your gestures around natural human interactions.
B- Click To Tweet
Natural human interaction like pinches, swipes, taps and pulls is the main of designing gestures around natural human interactions. Therefore, anywhere there is a button on your website or mobile application or an action that someone would click on a normal screen, consider there is an opportunity of using gesture technology. Also, pull-to-refresh is an easy way to include gesture in your site without disrupting the design. Always remember to use visual cues for indicating additional gesture-driven action on your site especially in the case of PC users. Without visual cues, users can be confused about how to interact.
C- Including Proper Sizing Of Gesture Targets
People may use fingers or thumb in place of the mouse but unfortunately, fingers and thumbs are not accurate. They may select too much or too little depending on the size and spacing of your website or application.
Mobile users can manage thumb to sweep the entire screen of the oversized phone but only one-third of the screen is truly effortless for them to use. They definitely have to select a smaller button at the top of the screen for zooming. Explained well in Fig 1.0.
While working with gesture technology in PCs or tablets there’s some relaxation as the screen sizes are larger but again there are various spots on a tablet which are still more user-friendly for gestures like upper corners instead of bottom corners.
D- Think Action + Animation
While designing with gestures there are certain things which you must keep in mind:
- Action which is to be triggered when the user performs a gesture.
- Visualizing action which is to happen.
You must decide which action will be triggered when a user performs a certain action. Will the user be using two fingers scroll up or down or they one? Will they be double tapping to open or close a page?
Gestures are nothing without animation. The application uses animation to give feedback to users or to convey some information about functioning. Whenever animations visually impersonate the real-life reactivity to gestures, users become much more connected with the app experience. App developers can animate notifications, collapse or expand elements and do lot more dynamic interfaces which will delight users.
Deciding on what action will be created by what gesture, now the time is to decide how you want your users to know that gestures have succeeded. Users will, of course, won’t be able to understand, feel and see what will happen when they touch, drag, hold and swipe items before it happens. With an immediate response then you can comprehend you are successful and there is no issue. But if there is delayed response, try using an additional animation like a change of color and size so that you can alert users that their gesture has worked.
E- Use Of Prototyping Tools For Test And Debug
There is no doubt in it that gesture-driven interfaces do wonder if incorporated in the applications, but they also have some amount of bugs, therefore, it is very important to test your site. Testing is very important as you will come to know when and where users might get stuck before your launch. Prototyping plays a vital role in designing intuitive gestures at various points in your mobile app development process. Tools like Justinmind come with a pre-built library of gestures and animated interactions. It allows to road-test the best gesture for each action, therefore you can link up actions, events, and animations to define the dynamics of your app.
There are certain prototyping tools like Invision and Pop which can help you in developing wireframes and debug the problems areas if required. Framer JS is another great prototyping tool which can help you in building amazing interactivity on your website or mobile application. It also allows you to test application on various different devices. You may also consider various our tools like Marvel, Generator, Antetype, Solidify, Proto.io. You should successfully test your gesture-driven application on as many touchscreen devices as possible in order to ensure that your application does not create any issue on any particular device.
No doubt there is no single solution on how to use gesture technology in a mobile or web application. The secret is do prototyping, testing, iterating repeatedly and efficiently. Serve what makes your customer cheerful!
References: justinmind.com, invisionapp.com, eetimes.com, smashingmagazine.com, fluent.software