14 Oct 2015

iOS 9 3D Touch claims a future for mobile applications development

3D Touch is a new way to interact with Apple gadgets and is definitely the most important improvement in the Apple latest iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. It is also available on the new Mac Book track pad and the Apple Watch.

The introduction of 3D Touch on the new iPhone 6S will add an additional dimension of user experience to apps. Functioning as a right-click does on a computer, the 3D Touch will allow apps to now have shortcut menus to enhance and expedite user experience for key quick tasks.

Suppose user want to take a selfie, or book a cab, or just write an email, imagine how many taps does it take? How many screens do user have to visit? In most of the cases, the answer is “more than one”.

Mobile operating system are designed in such way that, anything user do on a smart phone or tablet takes user to another screen to do it. With release of iPhone 6 and 6s, Apple has tried to solve this problem: the screen can now detect exactly how hard users are pressing on it, the multitouch equivalent of a right-click on the desktop. By pressing on the screen longer, user can interact with it contextually.

A 3D touch can track three kinds of presses; a regular press, a tap and a deep press.

For example, Apple showed how user could easily call a contact on their iPhone, just by hard-pressing on the Phone app icon and then tapping on their contact’s name in a new menu that pops up. User releases the finger and the menu goes away. But this can be used for a lot like:

  • Previewing an email link in Safari without switching apps.
  • Booking a cab without ever leaving their home screen.

Peek & Pop

  • Apple designed “peek”, “pop” and “quick actions” to make everyday actions quicker. A light touch on screen triggers an action – “peek” and a hard touch on screen triggers an action – “pop”. With this feature in an app, there will be less transitions of screens, fewer taps and quick actions.
  • ‘Peek’ allows the user to press on an app using 3D touch to preview things such as an email, view photographs, browse a web page or check a location all without having to actually open the app, whether from the same app or a different app. Within this ‘peek’ preview we can also define few quick actions.
  • ‘Pop’ then allows users to press a little harder and be taken directly into the app that holds that information.
  • Consider a shopping app, on the product listing screen user can touch on any product (‘peek’) to view it’s image gallery or description. If user likes the product press a littler more harder (‘pop’) and it will open a new screen to do more actions like checkout or add to favorites.
  • Railway ticketing app, users could peek at different train times, layovers and other details before they pop over to finalize the train they want to select. When selecting dates, they could also peek at their calendar before selecting their dates of departure and return.
  • Document management app, can allow user to preview folders / documents / videos etc. by peek and open it by pop. It can also allow user to quick upload file by peek.
  • Restaurant or food app can allow user to view menus of different restaurant and book a table by peek feature and open the website or app of that restaurant by pop.
  • E books, blogging such related apps can let user preview any article / book / e paper / case study by peek feature and can take user to that link by clicking on it.

Shortcuts to perform actions without opening an app

  • From home screen user can press the app icon and it will display list of common actions that the app offers without opening the app.
  • Consider a mobile banking app, on the press of app’s icon on the home screen, it will show a short menu that could allow user to view current balance, transfer money to favorite contact or view any pending transaction.
  • Event or movie ticketing mobile app can have shortcuts to book the ticket, view show / event timings, resend email / sms of already booked ticket etc.
  • Cab booking app can have shortcuts to view fare details, pickup from user location, view map from user’s current location to destination.
  • Airline app can have shortcuts to re-send an itinerary confirmation to the user’s email, opening a map inside the app of the user’s home airport to locate a boarding gate, or to open a recent ticket in the app, book tickets for frequent or favorite destinations.
  • A shopping app can have shortcut to my cart, my wish list, search etc.

Pressure sensitivity

  • 3D touch also introduces pressure sensitivity, where app can operate according to pressure that is applied on the screen.
  • It eliminates the need of using two hands for “pinch and zoom” images, with lighter pressure user can zoom the image little bit and with more pressure user can zoom the image more. This feature can be implemented in almost all apps that includes images.
  • Consider a sketch or drawing application, where depending on the pressure applied the app will draw increase or decrease thickness of line or other drawing elements.
  • A video app can increase or decrease speed of video depending on the pressure applied.
  • For music app it can output tone based on pressure applied on the screen, thus giving a sense to user like they are playing actual instrument.
  • This is very useful in gaming apps (all these things without this feature requires to choose an action from another small menu provided by the app, thus providing more efficient and real time gaming experience):
    • For driving games user can accelerate or break depending on the pressure applied on the screen.
    • For shooting games user can perform shooting action or open different weapons depending to the pressure applied on the screen.
    • For fighting games user can perform action like hard punch, soft punch or other hitting techniques etc. depending on the pressure applied on the screen.
    • For character based game, user can make the character jump higher or lower depending on the pressure applied on the screen.

Live Photos:

  • Apple’s 3D touch has feature called “Live Photos” that allows to take a short video / GIF image. When user take a photo it captures a few seconds either side user can watch it as a video. This feature can be useful in apps like:
    • Image capturing and editing apps.
    • Dating apps.
    • Social media apps.
    • Fun and entertainment apps.

Apple’s 3D touch feature is new and gaining more and more attention. Lots iOS native apps like camera, mail etc. have already implemented the advantages and features of 3D touch, which is taking the user experience to a next level.

If you are looking to develop an iOS app with full features of 3D touch or already having an app which you want to upgrade to include features of 3D touch, then Rainmaker Labs team will be ready to help you and fulfill your requirements.

Leave a Comment

More Tips & Trends