Touch continues to be a big topic in user experience and product development. I recently came across two articles that add great points to the continuing dialog:
Design Considerations for Touch UI
The article (no longer available) enumerates five major pointers for designing effective touch interfaces, namely:
- Design for immediate access
- Keep gestures smart and simple
- Leverage clear mental models
- Design for real hand sizes
- Touch feedback is key
Evaluating Gesture Usability
Kevin Arthur, whose site is dedicated to touch interface usability, shares a rough draft for evaluating gestures. He advocates for the need to have “reliable and repeatable evaluation techniques for gestures,” applicable to all forms of touch: touchpad, touchscreens, and free-form. The draft outlines some distinctions of gestures:
- Gestures are inter-related.
- Gesture interfaces typically don’t have affordances.
- Gestures don’t just need to work — they need to not work when they’re not supposed to.
- For touch gestures things like finger size and fingernails can make a very big difference so it’s important that the test participants are representative.
I agree that there are greater considerations in testing gestures, particularly around learnability, feedback, consistency, and accuracy.