What are some alternatives to "hover" on touch-based devices?

  • Came up recently in a 37signals podcast:

    http://37signals.com/podcast#episode18

    The straightforward, "brute-force" solution is to just use the first touch on a UI object as the hover.

    http://37signals.com/svn/posts/2419-product-blog-update-basecamp-translationstemplates-notifire-highrise-twilio-etc

    It works. But are there other, more elegant solutions? For instance, could the hardware ever be made to support actual finger hovering?

  • It would mean a very different technology than what is currently used. I wouldn't try to force touch devices into screen device semantics. Touch devices are developing their own distinct set of user expectations. Touch to hover is perfectly acceptable. I've seen some nice examples of hinting to the user where "hoverable" areas are when the screen first loads. Highlighting hot spots in some way, then letting those highlights fade out after a second or two.

    I like this solution. I think if this were to take off, it wouldn't be a bad idea in regular UI's to show a border or highlight action areas on a new screen for a few seconds.

    Good point about not forcing the new into models built for the old. +1

    Stuff fading out might not be seen. There was a psychology study where they told participants to watch a basketball game and count how many times the ball was passed -- participants did not notice a gorilla going by: http://viscog.beckman.illinois.edu/grafs/demos/15.html -- On the web, where we already ignore those flashing "YOU'RE WINNER!" ads, subtle fading seems like too weak a visual clue.

    Good idea, although as a user, I'd certainly prefer to be able to invoke highlight myself - when the app opens new screen, I'm too busy looking around, and I haven't oriented myself on the screen yet, so there is a little chance I'd remember which items had the initial highlight...

License under CC-BY-SA with attribution


Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM