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The power of TOUCH

I am sure that by now your 'finger tips' have become the most important part of your lives thanks to this brand new world of TOUCH technology. Tap, Hold, Swipe, Slide, Pinch, Stretch your fingers and witness the magic of TOUCH world unfolding right in front of your eyes. Thinking about living a life without fingers seems insurmountable. With the pace touch technology is growing, soon we will see people insuring their fingers !

So how many gestures do you know? Lets find out by going through a brief overview of this revolutionary invention.

Press and Hold

The press and hold gesture is analogous to the right-click with a mouse. The gesture is intended to allow the user to check out additional options related to the object he/she selected, like a context menu. This gesture is accomplished by touching a single finger to the screen and pausing until the system acknowledges the hold, often by outlining the user interface element held.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out what the next gesture allows a user to do. While the press and hold gesture can easily be equated to a single mouse gesture, the tap gesture is intended to invoke the primary action associated with the object resembling the left-click.

'One finger single tap' can be used to select items, click links, and more.This gesture is accomplished by placing a finger on the user interface element and then immediately lifting the finger straight up  within a limited time period and within a limited spatial area on the touch screen surface. The ‘one finger single tap’ has a max time between touch down and touch up as well as a spatial separation threshold between touch down and touch up coordinates.

To register a ‘double tap’ event, a finger must touch down on the screen and then be lifted up again and touch down again within a limited time period and within a limited spatial area on the touch screen surface. This ensures that the gesture registered is actually a ‘double tap’ and not unrelated touch events.  The ‘One Finger Double Tap’ gesture has a spatial separation threshold between the first tap and the second tap. After the first two taps within a certain time period, the event will not respond to subsequent “rapid-fire” taps.


The slide gesture in the touch language is used for panning or scrolling content that couldn't accumulate entirely on the screen. In a mouse-driven environment this is accomplished using scrollbars, but with touch, the slide gesture is more natural. The scrollbar on a touch device may be both cumbersome and takes up too much real estate on the screen and become a difficult touch target hence it is replaced by a more apt slide gesture. To accomplish the slide gesture, a finger is placed on the screen and then pulled up and down or side to side depending on the orientation of the content.


The swipe gesture is used to communicate selection, much like left-click, Control + left-click, and Shift + left-click are used when interacting with the computer using a mouse and keyboard. To achieve this gesture the finger is placed on the screen either on top of or adjacent to the item selected and then drawn through the item. The direction of the gesture depends on the orientation of the content, with horizontally oriented content being swiped vertically and vertically oriented content being swiped horizontally. The gesture going against what would be used to slide sometimes causes it to be referred to as a cross swipe. Use of this gesture as opposed to a tap eliminates the confusion that could be created when trying to accomplish multiselect scenarios with no keyboard modifier keys such as Control and Shift that aid in mouse selection.


The pinch gesture  is considered a “zoom” gesture. The pinch zooms out from a narrow view with a high level of detail to a broader view with less detail. To accomplish the pinch gesture, two fingers are placed separated and roughly equidistant from the center of the element that is the target of the gesture, and then the fingers are slid together until either the desired zoom is met or the fingers meet.


The stretch gesture is the opposite of the pinch gesture both in its execution and in the
results. The stretch gesture is used for zooming in. As with pinch, you will find that applications can be designed to allow the gesture to be either an optical zoom or a semantical one. To accomplish the gesture, fingers are placed together centered on the element to be zoomed and then are moved in opposite directions along the screen until either the desired zoom level is achieved or one of the fingers reaches the edge of the screen.

Swipe from Edge

As Content is the king and anything that distracts from the content is to be left off the screen. Users need to be able to perform actions with the least effort possible. Most operating systems balance these needs by placing less frequently accessed commands off the edge of the screen in what are called app bars. The swipe from edge gesture is used to access these commands. To achieve the gesture, a finger is placed beyond the edge of the screen and then pulled onto the screen.


The turn gesture is used for rotating either the view or the content within the view.
One example of where this type of gesture could be used would be in a touch version of the classic video game Tetris, where falling blocks can be rotated to fit together. To accomplish this gesture, two fingers are placed on the screen, and then either both fingers are pulled around the circumference of a circle or one is rotated around the
other, which remains stationary.

There are lots more and even more are in development. Share some of those you know of and those we missed. 

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