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5 proposed touch gestures for Windows 8 tablets (and laptops)
It took me a while to get used to Windows 8 on touch tablets, but with the right device the OS from Microsoft impresses me. It does some things better than others, and the dual nature of Windows 8 (Metro and desktop) is challenging.
Overall, the Windows 8 touch interface is pretty well done albeit a little quirky. It takes time to get used to swiping from the four edges of the screen to do different things, and it doesn't help that they are very different things at that. Using touch to manipulate the OS works reasonably well, but every time I use my Windows 8 tablet I wish some additional touch gestures were included in the mix.
The 5 gestures proposed in this article may not be for everyone using a Windows 8 tablet, but I really wish they were part of the UI. They are simple in concept and operation, and I would use them constantly if implemented. If you think about it you might wish they were included, too.
Swipe to the desktop
Windows 8 has a dual nature, between the Metro Start Screen and the legacy desktop. The Metro side has live tiles in a horizontal layout that can be spun through by swiping from right to left and vice versa to get back to the left-most screen.
Tablet users can attest to how common it is to be spinning right and left on the Start Screen to find a particular app tile to either run or view information on the tile. It's a natural gesture that fits the touch tablet particularly well.
As good as it is, I am constantly wishing it was expanded a little. When I am swiping from left to right on the Start Screen to get back to the left-most screen of tiles, I wish that it would let me swipe through to the desktop.
The legacy desktop is not part of the Metro interface but it's something I use all the time. I envision it existing to the left of the Metro side, so I wish I could keep going when swiping left to right on the Start Screen to easily get to the desktop.
Swipe back to the Start Screen
Just as I wish I could swipe the screen to get easily from the Metro Start Screen to the desktop as detailed in the previous slide, I wish the reverse operation was also possible.
When sitting on the legacy desktop I wish I could do a long right to left swipe to swing back to Metro. Nothing fancy, just a natural way to swipe back to the Start Screen. Think of the Start Screen as a circular thing with the desktop just to the left of the live tiles. That makes this touch gesture and the one mentioned previously make a lot of sense.