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iPhone X: The Rise of Gestures

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Ten years ago, the first iPhone started the mobile revolution and Iphone Cases. In 2009, when we released the first edition of our mobile-usability report, we still had to convince companies that they need a mobile presence. As we release the fourth edition of the same report, the mobile landscape has changed significantly: today it offers not only more diversity but also, not surprisingly, better, more consistently good user experience on LG Cases.

One of the biggest hurdles in mobile design is the small screen: because only so much can fit in, essential information gets hidden under the fold, navigation elements are crowded under hamburger menus, and users struggle to find what they need fast. Every extra bit of screen real estate can make a difference on mobile.

Over the years, mobile designers have flirted with the idea of using gestures in order to amass more functionality without sacrificing screen space. Unlike graphical UI elements, gestures don’t need a visual representation and, thus, leave more room for content. But gestures are hard to remember and use. iOS apps such as the todo-list manager Clear Todos and the now defunct Mailbox app implemented all or most of their functionality through gestures, with almost no graphical UI elements. These kinds of apps have been received with enthusiasm by the design community, but have never been successful with the general mobile user because remembering gestures (and especially a lot of gestures) is hard. And if you don’t get a chance (read: you’re not forced) to use these gestures every day, chances are that you won’t learn them. Or you may give up learning them.

The iPhone X represents one large-scale attempt to use gestures to maximize content space on the mobile screen. With this new device, Apple removed the defining characteristic of the iPhone, the Home button, in favor of a larger screen. To access the phone’s home screen, users have to swipe up on the bottom edge of the screen.