App accelerators

The competition in the mobile app industry gets bigger and bigger so we have to deliver better and better apps to keep the users hooked. Extra niceness goes a long way in user retention and introducing app accelerators is a great example because it’s not just about looks it’s also about functionality.

We all know and use shortcuts in our favourite desktop apps and we should do the same with mobile apps.

What shortcuts you should give the users depends on the app’s purpose. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat will let the user create stories/snapchats and send direct messages at one swipe away, while Slack and Facebook Messenger will let you preview messages or users with a forced touch.

You can either make a documentation available for those accelerators or you can let the users discover them as easter eggs in your app. Just remember that shortcuts are an alternative to complete tasks faster and they shouldn’t be the only option.

They don’t only bring value to the users in the short term, but they also bring a lot of value to the clients in the long term. For example, Instagram by making it very easy for their main users who post a lot of content every day in the long run will keep their app relevant.

Gestures

Apple has made it extremely easy for developers to implement gestures in the apps, in just a few lines of code you can take advantage of an extra layer of interactivity in your app. You can either use the predefined gestures or create your own.

There are a few standard gestures that Apple’s guidelines advise us to keep the same in our apps. The users would expect, for example, that taps would activate a control or select an item or pinches would zoom in and out. You can check out their article with all of the examples here.

3D Touch

3D touch brought new UX possibilities with the launch of iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. We can take advantage of the pressure sensitive layer on the screen to improve our app’s user experience. You can either use 3d Touch for quick actions right from the Home screen, let users preview content with peek and pop interactions or even develop features based on the pressure sensing display.

Get inspired

Slack - Gestures

Slack is doing a great job at adding shortcuts in their apps and considering it is a tool used by over six million people daily it makes sense. You can see below some of the accelerators they made available for their users:

Slack - Peek and pop - 3d Touch

App icon quick actions - 3d Touch

Here are some examples of how popular apps use quick actions powered by the 3d touch, some might make our interactions so much faster and some of them might not make such a big difference.

Nodes example

In the Fitness DK app we provide a faster switch between Weekly and Monthly stats in the Tracker by letting the user tap on the background of the screen:

Code examples

Check out our accelerators code examples:

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