It all started a long time ago in a place far, far away with the trusty Tap. That’s all there was, just a Tap. It was so easy back then! Happy days.
Over the years touch screen technology has advanced from lowly Capacitive technology (initially developed in the 1940s and seen in 2001 A Space Odyssey in 1968) to today’s advanced multi-touch gesture interfaces where virtual objects exhibit physical constraints and behaviors. As display technology improves, so do the number and types of gestures that can be used (and forgotten) to perform virtually any action on a mobile device.
That’s wonderful. However, with a wide range of gestures in the app designer’s toolbox, they have a significant responsibility to ensure that they only use gestures that add value and make apps easy to use and super intuitive.
Only gestures that are most natural to complete the task at hand should be used. One reason for this is that gestures are also hidden controls! In the biz, a control is a screen element such as a CTA button, a burger menu, a date selector etc. Gestures can be used to perform the same actions as onscreen virtual controls. For example, swiping right to get a hot date is the same as tapping the Like button. One is a gesture and the other a control, both perform an action.
Let’s go over another example. Remember when apps used to have a refresh button? Well, that’s old news now. These days we simply pull down to refresh the data on the screen. This is a gesture and also a hidden control.
Every time a visible control is replaced with a (hidden control) gesture the app’s learning curve goes up, which affects stickiness, adoption, and conversion.
Today CS for Apps supports the main gestures used in the majority of apps; Tap (inc. recurrence) and Swipe (inc. speed, direction, and recurrence). The use of gestures inform not only how the user is engaging with the app, but it can also identify if the user has certain expectations as to how the app should operate.
Many apps use a carousel to display product images (although it could be argued that carousels are so 20th Century, but that’s another tip). Some of those apps (like our very own ShopStore Android app) expect the user to engage the carousel by tapping the left/right buttons, while other apps expect the user to swipe left and right through the carousel content.
Our customers can use CS for Apps to identify which gestures are used on specific screen controls. If, for example, a significant population of the user’s swipe to engage with the carousel that requires a tap then the app designer needs to consider either supporting the swipe gesture or making the user interface clearer.
By using CS for Apps brands can really understand how users engage with the app and optimize the way that gestures are used. This analysis can also be used to design highly efficient and easy to use interfaces that can deliver measurable improvements in app stickiness, adoption and importantly for many, improved conversion.
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