Implementing Gestures In Mobile Apps Design

Saurabh Tiwary | 30th May 2016

Most of the applications or tools that you open on your phone includes swipe, tap or pinch to function well. These tiny and useful gestures are the secrets to make a great mobile app that is versatile and efficient. And there are a number of factors that influence it.

By making use of gesture feature, designers and developers only need to spend time on where they want the action to appear on the screen. However, with gestures, you have to consider the type of the physical action, its location on the screen, and whether users can intuitively find and touch it.

Gesture For Apps

Common Gesture Features:-


  • Tap:- Touching surface by hitting the screen
  • Double tap:- Tapping the surface with two quick motions such as used to zoom
  • Drag:- Moving along the surface without breaking touch contact
  • Pinch/spread:- Touching the surface with two fingers to move in or out
  • Press:- Touch surface and hold it for a while
  • Flick:- Scrolling up and down

The objective of every designer should be to make these gestures reach to the user.  One thing to keep in mind while designing for gestures is the placement of thumb by making better use of “thumb zone.” However other aspects are important as well. Most of us hold our phones with one hand and use just one thumb to navigate through entire display. Each button needs to utilize large enough space so that it activates with ease, regardless of finger size.


Connecting Gestures And Animation

Gestures are occasionally directly linked to animations in mobile design. Animation is the primary way that provides user with an interface to complete an action or task.

Some of the main features of animation for gesture application includes:-

  • Revealing Information
  • Scrolling
  • Highlighting The Content
  • Collapsing Forms and Menus
  • Animated Notifications


Use Material Design To Enhance The Gesture

Material Design can be used in these three ways to implement gestures i.e. through drag, swipe and fling.


  • Drag is a well controlled gesture that is always used in conjunction with a touch target.
  • Swipe gesture doesn’t require a touch target.
  • Fling does not have any touch target at all and is a snappier gesture.


Dealing With Complex Gestures

Including a number of gesture options in your app can lead to complexity of the operations. Complex gestures include three levels of interaction to complete a task.

  • Initialization: Initial touch to start an action
  • Continuation: Applying multiple gestures in a specific sequence to make something happen.
  • Termination: End of gesture control as contact with the screen is ended.


It is practically impossible to design a good mobile app without considering the importance of gestures. Touch gestures are an integral part of the design process and it will continue to influence the mobile apps design.

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Saurabh Tiwary

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