Remember the days when hovering and clicking with the mouse were the most used triggers for interaction with a site or app? Those days are gone. When Apple introduced the first iPhone, multi-touch technology became mainstream and users learned that they could not only point and tap on the interface, but also pinch, spread, and swipe. Gestures became the new clicks.
Today the success of a mobile UI can be made by how effectively it uses gestures.
When it comes to incorporating gestures in your UI it’s essential to know your market and the other apps your target audience may be using. Try to employ the same types of gestures in your app. This way, you aren’t only optimizing your UI based on your target market’s behavior, but also designing a more comfortable approach for users right from the beginning.
Gestures are a must in every mobile app but it’s always a challenge to make them obvious for users. Touch interfaces provide many opportunities to use natural gestures like tap, swipe and pinch to get things done, but unlike graphical user interface controls, gesture-based interactions are often hidden from users. So unless users have prior knowledge that a gesture exists, they won’t try.
Therefore design for discovery is crucial. You need to be sure you provide the right cues—visual signifiers that help users discover easily how they can interact with an interface.
Tutorials and walkthroughs are quite a popular practice for gesture-driven apps. Incorporating tutorials in your app in many cases means showing some instructions to the user to explain the interface. However, a UI tutorial isn’t the most elegant way to explain the core functionality of an app. The major problem with upfront tutorials is that users have to remember all of those new ways of using the app once they get in. Too much information at once might lead to more confusion. For example, the Clear app starts with a mandatory 7-page tutorial and users have to patiently read all the information and try to commit it to their memory. That’s bad design because it requires users to work upfront even before they actually try the app.