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Canonical has built functionality into each side of the screen so that swiping from any edge performs an action. For example swiping left to right (pictured) brings up a list of the most recently used apps, whereas swiping from right to left returns you to whatever you were doing last, similar to the way in which the back button works on Windows Phone.
Swiping down from the top shows any notifications you have in the bar and allows you to switch between areas of the phone like contacts, dialler, messages etc, whereas swiping up from the bottom brings up a list of options for any app that you have open.
Image: Ben Woods