Re: [IxDA] transition to ipad - no hover - behaviors unclear - ideas?
16 Jun 2010 - 9:08pm
For most designers making the jump from a background of designing mouse based interfaces into touch screen interfaces, it's a natural reaction to try to come up with a comparison chart of nomenclature for the different types of interface interactions commonly used. Tap == Click, Press-and-hold == Right-Click, (or Hover), DoubleTap == DoubleClick, etc. It's an understandable reaction, but I'd argue that these comparisons don't need to -- and shouldn't -- exist at all. The end result of their design will probably be more robust and successful if they wipe the comparison chart completely out of their heads.
For numerous reasons, the mouse-based paradigm doesn't work in a touch-screen world. For one; the user's hand is necessarily blocking their own view of the part of the interface, so something like a contextual hover event that displays more information is something that works great in the mouse world, but should probably be completely re-evaluated in a touch screen application.
Ok, sure, some make sense. Saying "tap = click" for example. Sure, I'll go with that. I'm just saying that seeing a fingertip from a starting point of making comparisons to a mouse might hamper the path of discovery, and unnecessarily lock down the creative results.
I think it helps to step waaay back and look afresh at your end goals. I know GOMS gets slammed sometimes as being out of date, but I think it's still quite valuable, and with the new paradigm of touch screens, it's kind of fun to run through the method when presented with a new Goal challenge.
One last thing that is probably the most important: Try to think about your event being triggered (or controlled) from when the user RELEASES their finger; pulls it away -- instead of when they touch the screen. Everything that happens between the touch and release is just gravy.
In terms of the iPad environment, a touch is equivalent to a click in
a desktop environment; there is no equivalent for hover. Conversely,
there are no equivalents for many gestures (e.g., "pinch") using a
As you note, this does require a bit of adjustment in one's thinking
when designing touch interfaces but the rich possibilities make it
worth the while.