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Are In-App Gestures The Next Key To A Great Mobile User Experience?

Having a great mobile user experience has been shown to have a direct affect on the success of an app. With the ever-evolving tech we have access too; the range of in-app gestures has increased, becoming second nature to many as a way to quickly traverse an app. As a mobile app developer, we are constantly looking at ways to maximize the UE and we think that In-App Gestures are the next key to a great mobile user experience.

Curious as to why we think this? Read on…

The Power of Gestures

Gestures are extremely powerful because they can convey so much with so little motion. In the real world think of the “thumbs up” or other singular finger gestures and how much information that can convey.

In the app world gestures have that same type of power to quickly and easily communicate our desires to wards this powerful pocket genie that has become such an important tool in our lives. The reason why in-app gestures relate to the user experience is because the movements mimic interacting with a real object, even when your gesture takes place hovering over a screen.

While you can press a button to perform an action, from a user experience standpoint there are reasons why a gesture can be superior from a design standpoint:

  • Easy to Use – Gestures are common enough now that people expect to see them and understand how to use them. Because they are becoming more intuitive to use, the use of a gesture can cut down on steps rather than dragging a process out with multiple taps. For example, on your email you could tap to select an email, and then tap again to delete it, or you could simply swipe it away.
  • Space – Buttons take up space whereas a gesture does not. This allows for more open space to be utilized for design and information because in essence you are reducing the unnecessary components in favor of the necessary. As an added bonus, less buttons mean less distraction to allow completion of their primary goal or purpose more quickly.
  • Interactive – While it is true that pressing a button or tapping the screen is interactive, making gestures, because of the variety of options, is considered by many users to create a more interactive experience. This is important when you are trying to craft a connection with users.

Things to Avoid with Gestures

While we love gestures because of the three points listed above, there are some things you need to be careful with.

  • Common for All – Any gesture you use needs to either be common for your audience or properly supported with your apps introduction and onboarding processes so a new user can easily learn it. There can be a learning curve which you want to minimize as much as possible. Most people understand tapping, swiping, pinching, spreading, dragging and pressing but when you move beyond that there needs to be a plan to educate users.
  • Feedback – When you press a button you know what you did. Sometimes, when you use a gesture it is not always that clear especially if the gesture is not working or is very sensitive making it hard to consistently get it right. It can be useful to have readily available help options if you find your app is considered too complex because of gestures.
  • Visual Cues – Visual clues are critical to have in conjunction with gestures because they help demonstrate how to work within an app on an intuitive level. Visual hints combined with animation can teach users how to navigate in a fun, interactive manner.
  • Onboard and Help – You need to plan on a better onboarding process along with Help Files or FAQs to help people who are not used to gestures or are unfamiliar with the gesture you are using to navigate. The last thing you want is a new user to get frustrated and often FAQs and help files allow users to teach themselves if necessary and avoid frustration.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the user experience is critical these days, especially within an app. Because of how they function and the doors they can open up for design in regards to space and interactivity we feel that in-app gestures are the next key to a great mobile experience. So for your next project, make sure you consider how those gestures can improve the product you are sending to market.

Be sure to check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for great new Lounge Lizard blog articles.

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