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The Evolution of Gesture and Its Future in Web Design

Monday - June 24th, 2013

Written by: Tristan Pelligrino

The Evolution of Gesture and Its Future in Web Design

Users of the iPhone and Android devices have unknowingly gotten used to using gestures over buttons. Simple actions such as the pinch-zoom and claw-swipe are common actions for smartphone users that are redefining the way the web is designed. Even desktops and laptops are taking advantage of gestures that are usually reserved for smartphones and other mobile devices! For instance, the magic mouse by Apple includes swiping gestures that allow both desktop and laptop users to browse through pages just like the iPhone.

Common actions for mobile users include:

  • Tap-hold. For iOS devices, tapping then holding an icon gives users the opportunity to rearrange the icons on their device. They simply need to drag the icons where they want them to appear. This is customization at its finest.
  • Rotate. Simply rotating a mobile device to the side will re-orientate the entire webpage or image on the screen. This allows users to view content exactly how they want to.
  • Pinch-zoom. Because mobile device screens are so much smaller than their desktop and laptop counterparts, the ability to zoom closer to an image or text is crucial. This intuitive feature has actually encouraged sites to increase the quality of their images, as imagery is under higher scrutiny than ever before.

While all of these actions are common for mobile users, ThalmicLabs is taking this technology to the next level. With their product MYO, which is still in development, ThalmicLabs is seeking to make gestures a part of everyday life. Instead of having to touch the screen of a mobile device, track pad of a laptop, or mouse of a desktop, users only need to make a gesture in midair for the device to respond.

How does this work? The user needs to wear an armband that accurately senses muscle movements in the forearm. The device is so sensitive and accurate that it can sense the pinch-zoom even though it only incorporates two fingers. Want to do a claw-swipe in midair? It tracks that as well.

As the technology for MYO is still being refined for public release by ThalmicLabs, it’s a brilliant milestone in the evolution of gestures and a reminder of its future in web design. Every element from rotate to the pinch-zoom is focused exclusively on the user experience. It’s all about giving the user exactly what he or she wants and allowing him to consume your content in any possible way.

In short, gestures were never about the amazing technology. Instead, it was all about enhancing the user experience. As gesture is about to get a major boost by MYO, brands must remember to make their sites and web presence as user friendly as possible. Aside from providing valuable content, it’s all about making the site simple to navigate and friendly for every device. Since users can consume your content from anywhere, it’s more important than ever to keep your site (and any apps) device friendly. As the future of gestures evolve, so will the future of user interaction.

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