Monday, June 25, 2012

Swipe To Dismiss Beta Library from Google Itself!

Roman Nurik, an Android developer at Google who you will be able to check out at Google I/O next week, has released beta code for a new swipe-to-dismiss pattern for lists.

It's an idea that has been around in iOS for a bit and is about to jump ship to Android as well. Now, don't get all "I hate iOS! It should stay over there!" just yet. Just like programming languages can share design patterns in code, these two mobile OS's can share some UI patterns as well. And it's a good thing because gesture apps are gaining serious ground on iOS and Android developers should really jump on that if they want to be on the forefront of this new pattern.

But really, the idea is simple. Say you have a RSS app. Previously, you could have implemented a long-click or placed a button on each list item to mark that article as read and remove it from the list. But these things take time or make UI's ugly. In walks swipe-to-dismiss. Simply touch the list item you want to remove and 'swipe' it off the screen. Then the list removes that item, and shrinks! Simple as that. If you have an iOS device, check out Clear as it is, in my opinion, currently the best application built around gestures.

The goal of your mobile application should be to provide as much functionality to your users, as fast as you can. You don't want users to have to sit in your app waiting or trying to figure out how to do something. Swiping provides a unique and natural feel to your app as the user is directly interacting with that UI element like it is actually on their table. One thing to remember though; gestures don't present themselves to a user like a button does. It is not readily obvious that they are there and users might spend a long time looking for that piece of functionality. Be sure to let the user know that this action is here somehow. Once you have, this pattern is so natural, that it should take hold right away in the user's mind.

The library Roman Nurik has posted is found here but remember it is only in beta. Also, this library is for Android 4.0 and up. But no fear! For Jake Wharton has brought it to work on all api levels with his NineOldAndroids library here!

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