West: There is a whole class of gesture-based functionality, basically, that mobile apps are trying to take advantage of, which is fantastic. Now on Foursquare, when you pull down on a venue, it checks you in without you having to tap the screen. It’s a power user feature we tell people about—it’s very rare you accidentally do it. Plus, a little bit of a learning curve isn’t that bad. A lot of web gurus say it’s bad if there’s any kind of learning curve or tutorial needed, but I disagree. We’re making the standards. This is the time when we’re figuring out what the best practice is.
Disabato: It’s funny, I’ll see people much younger than myself having no problem learning totally new interaction models on these interfaces when they aren’t given any help. I’ll see people my age or older, I’m 31, they’ll struggle and won’t be able to do anything on it, and they’ll need help.
West: We already have a mental model, or muscle memory, tripping us up. I have an Xbox, and I always had Nintendo before, so I keep wanting to hit A and B all the time. If I was a five year old, I would have no issues.
Disabato: I think you might start seeing apps that are experimental for their own sake. They do very weird things with gestures, they’re not really serious labored endeavors, but they’re something you can play with and understand the limitations of the medium. You see that a lot with game design and sound apps, music generation apps, that sort of stuff, where it’s just this weird set of graphics you play around with, like [sound toy app] Pluto Pluto. The more people actually use them, the more you’ll start to understand there’s way more to design than what Apple proscribes in their interface guidelines.
Patrick Sisson interviewed Nick Disabato and I for Interview: New Trends in Mobile Design / Features / Nothing Major.