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Jul 06

Craft Amazing User Experiences with 3D Touch

By zealousys

The Law of Convenience

It states that higher the number of clicks in accomplishing a task, higher are the chances of user attrition.  In fact, this principle is valid way beyond UI design. Be it any user-goal, if the no. of steps involved are high, the user may lose interest in the same. Following is the generic definition of the same: –

Every additional step that stands between people’s desires and the fulfillment of those desires greatly decreases the likelihood that they will undertake the activity

What if we apply this principle to Mobile Design?

In 2014, Apple introduced a new technology called ‘Force touch’. This technology allowed trackpads and touchscreens to differentiate between varying levels of force applied to the surface. In September 2015, ‘Force Touch’ was rebranded as 3D touch and integrated into iOS 9 for the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7.

3D touch

As per the Apple’s developer portal, 3D touch can be used for: –

Quick Access

A slight pressure on the app icon leads to a pop-up listing the most frequently used app-function. Of course! This needs to be integrated into the code by the app developer. However, this brings convenience and a smooth user experience.

An Example

Assume you have published a comic book reader app on the app store. List out the most common activities the end users perform on the app. Now, let us assume that our app analytics (Flurry or Google App Analytics) point to the following activities: –

  1. Bookmark a comic page/frame
  2. Take screenshots of the panel and the frame
  3. Sync new e-comic from their cloud storage
  4. Access their e-comic library

The aforementioned items in the list are the perfect ingredient for a quick access menu. Have a look at the diagram below and see the convenience at work: –

Quick Access 3D Touch Apple Comic Book Reader

Peek and Pop

‘Peek’, as the heading suggests, allows the user to get a quick preview of the app content without opening it. Users can then press a little harder to get access to the full content. This works within the app interface. A common scenario where this would be useful is your regular email app. For instance: –

  1. George opens his Gmail Inbox
  2. He doesn’t want to read the e-mail
  3. He presses hard on an e-mail listing
  4. The device shows a pop-up featuring a bite of the e-mail content
  5. The e-mail remains unread

An Example

Let us go back to our fictional comic book app. The user is in the Library section. He sees a list of comic book titles. The usual way to check out these titles is to tap on them and browse. What if the user simply wants a peek into the panels? This is where 3D Touch comes into the picture. With 3D touch, the user simply presses hard against the title listing and gets a summary along with access to a few panels in the comic book. See the diagram below: –

Peek and Pop 3D Touch Apple iOS 9

Other Miscellaneous applications


The pressure sensing capability of the iPhone devices can be utilized by app developers in creative ways. Ever seen an artist sketching a picture? He/she uses a pressure of varying degrees to generate various shades. Accordingly, the same can be implemented with the 3d-touch capability. Apply this concept to mobile gaming, a boxing game where the damage depends on the pressure of each and every tap. Your imagination is the limit.

For mobile apps crafted for 3-D Touch, Reach Us

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