Many hands

What are gestures?

We talk a lot about gestures, and in discussions we throw the word around without thinking of what it means, almost as carelessly as the use of "intuitive".

But what is a gesture really? A gesture is many times really hard to define. How do you wave? There are a million different waves but we perceive them as the same.

Is a gesture a symbolic move? Some definitions seem to say it is an expression. Then it seems to be a kind of language. It feels like it is a very nuanced language too, small differences in the movement can be the difference of a threat and an invite. It seems interesting today when we talk about gesture based interactions.

When we design for gestures it is important to think about this. The mover perspective becomes very important here. A swipe in an app can become a peek if it is slow and I often pull to refresh when I just want to scroll to the top. There seems to be a lack of gesture interpretation and that can be grounded in how hard it is for the machine to understand the intent, and the intent is what differentiates the gesture from the move.

One of the worst features in Instagram is how you have to know the amount of pictures in a post when you swipe to the next one. If you make the same swipe when you are at the last photo you are taken to the next screen. There has to be a better way to do this and I think it is a very engineery problem, a problem that is the result of engineers making the design decision. THere has to be a better way to interpret the touches, that take context into account.