Make your application touch-centric

A touch-centric experience on the BlackBerry® PlayBook™ tablet means that users interact with content by using gestural interactions, such as swiping, instead of "poking" UI components. Avoid cluttering the screen with UI components and design your application to take advantage of the gestural interactions. For example, allow users to zoom in to a picture by using the pinch out gesture instead of tapping a button to incrementally zoom in.

Bezel gestures

The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet is unique in supporting gestures from the device bezel (the frame around the display area of the screen). The "swipe from the bottom of the screen" gesture is a core interaction, which always displays the application list, along with any minimized applications. Subsequent swipes expand or collapse the application list. There are other bezel gestures that are available for you to use as shortcuts to features in your applications. These gestures include the following:

Gesture

Expected result

Swipe from the top of the screen

Displays a menu for settings or options

Swipe from the left or right side of the screen

Switches applications

Swipe from the top corners of the screen

Displays application notifications and status indicators

Swipe from the bottom left corner of the screen

Displays the keyboard

Interactions with content on the screen

If they apply to your application, you can implement the following interactions to allow users to directly manipulate content on the screen.

Gesture

Expected result

Tap

This gesture initiates an action. For example, when users tap an application icon, the corresponding application opens.

Double tap

This gesture focuses on the targeted area of the screen (for example, by zooming in or out).

Drag or swipe

This gesture moves the content on the screen in the direction of the drag or swipe and at the corresponding rate of speed. For example, users can move slowly through a list by dragging a finger on the screen, or they can move quickly through a list by swiping across the screen.

Touch and hold

This gesture highlights a sequence of characters, a word, a link, or an item, such as an email or picture.

Multi-touch

With two touch points, this gesture highlights a block of text or items. Up to four simultaneous touch points are supported and they can be application-specific.

Pinch out or pinch in

This gesture zooms in to or out from an item.

Pivot

This gesture rotates an item or the view.

Best practices

  • Carefully consider where you place UI components. Try to keep a 15-pixel margin around UI components and around the edge of the screen, especially along the top and bottom of the screen. Otherwise, users might inadvertently open a menu or display the application list.
  • Use a target area of at least 5.5 mm for custom UI components, or at least 4 mm if the component extends across the full width of the screen. It's a good idea to test the size of the target area with users. Components need to be large enough to touch with a finger, and this size depends on the layout of the screen and the proximity to other UI components.
  • Add visual cues to encourage users to explore the gestures in your application. For example, you can add a slider that users can use to adjust a value by dragging a finger across the component.
Next topic: Screen design

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