February 10, 2020
This is an sample chapter from Josh Clark’s book Designing for Touch. 2015, A Book Apart.
Chapter 4: Gestures
Hands are wonderfully expressive. We talk with our hands all the time: they ask questions, show intent, command attention, reveal emotion. A backhanded wave dismisses an idea; a jab of the finger accuses; a thumbs-up enthuses. If hands are excellent at communicating with people, they’re even more effective at communicating with objects. From the delicate operation of tying a shoelace to the blunt-force strength of opening a pickle jar, our hands and fingers constantly improvise in grip, pressure, position, and sensitivity.
How can we bring similar expression to manipulating digital information? Touchscreens put data literally in the user’s hands, and it’s the designer’s job to enable and interpret that interaction. Unfortunately, while our hands have a robust vocabulary for speaking to people and objects, we’re still in the grammar-school stages of a gestural language for touchscreens. A richer lexicon lies ahead, but it will take time for a more sophisticated range of touchscreen gestures to become common knowledge. Read More