Why Your App Needs Tactile Input

With over four million apps now available on both the Google Play and Apple App Store, it’s becoming more and more challenging for consumers to discover something novel that captures their interest. Even with a staggering 7,400 new apps being released daily on these platforms, only a handful possess the features that we seek. It seems that app development has hit a wall, with developers struggling to create inventive functionalities.

With the constant advancement of technology and the release of new products, mobile device manufacturers are continuously improving existing features, which offers mobile developers more tools to enhance their applications. To differentiate themselves, businesses must keep abreast of the latest market trends and leverage these opportunities to their advantage.

Check out Works to learn more about the advantages of custom mobile app development for businesses.

The use of haptic technology and feedback has the potential to significantly transform the mobile user experience, making it an exciting prospect. If you’re developing a business app currently, or intend to do so, including haptic feedback should be on your list. Here’s why.

Understanding Haptic Feedback

The term ‘haptic’ may not be a familiar one to you, but you have probably experienced haptic communication at some point. Haptic technologies share a common objective, which focuses on providing the user with a tactile encounter using force, vibrations, and/or movements.

Those who own an Apple Watch are likely familiar with the haptic technology used to indicate new notifications or alerts. Though the haptic functionality of the watch is confined, it efficiently caters to your necessities.

Even if you don’t own an Apple Watch, you can probably guess the topic of this discussion. A device’s sensors can provide a unique sensory experience, with haptic feedback offering an additional level of interactivity that engages your sense of touch.

Haptic technology has been available to developers for Android and iOS devices since the release of the iPhone 6S. Both operating systems have since undergone multiple updates, with iOS 13 notably introducing a variety of new possibilities. By leveraging these capabilities effectively, your application could stand out in a crowded market.

The Advantages of Incorporating Touch Feedback in Your App

Haptic feedback is crucial, offering a vibrational response to each touch, scroll, and swipe in an app. However, it’s essential to recognize when it can be beneficial and when it could become an annoyance.

Incorporating a subtle vibration when a critical task is accomplished in your software could enrich the user experience. This is because the reinforcement would be directly connected to the action being performed. However, if this vibrational feedback is applied to every button in an app, it can become bothersome and fail to be effective.

Before utilizing haptic feedback, it’s crucial to think about how you’ll employ it. Haptic feedback has been seamlessly incorporated into mobile games, providing subtle clues and sensations when a player defeats an opponent or moves up a level. You might already be acquainted with haptic feedback in gaming, even if you haven’t played video games recently, as Nintendo introduced this technology with their Rumble Pak way back in 1997.

Though haptic feedback technology isn’t groundbreaking, it’s the creative implementations of it that are proving to be revolutionary. There are presently two clear types of haptic feedback being used in applications: transient and continuous.

Transient Kinesthetic Feedforward

Most of us have probably encountered brief feedback, like the gentle jolts on the Apple Watch. This is a type of transient haptic feedback, which is generally momentary. Luckily, technological progress has enabled us to customize the strength of the haptic feedback, giving us more power over the user experience.

Haptic feedback can be used to alert the user to errors or essential notifications. However, for more routine activities such as choosing a menu item or shutting a window, a milder haptic might be more appropriate. The exactness provided by haptic feedback permits customization, therefore enriching the user’s experience with the app.

Continuous Haptic Feedback

Continuous feedback is manifested as a repeated pattern, like a series of haptic sensations or pulsations. As opposed to transient haptics, continuous haptics persist for a specific length of time and can be prolonged indefinitely. This type of haptic feedback might be employed in a racing game to simulate the feeling of the car seat vibrating as the user negotiates a corner at high speeds.

Incorporating a continuous haptic effect in your app can be an excellent technique to instill a sense of rhythm. This may seem unusual initially, but when you contemplate the potential, the idea becomes quite appealing. For instance, when a procedure is loading, you can use a continuous haptic to correspond with the rate of the loading bar, producing a dynamic vibrating experience for the user. This not only introduces an element of thrill but also generates a sense of energy as they wait.

Taking Action

It is only by thoughtfully merging both transient and continuous haptic effects that you can fully unlock the potential of haptics in your app. These two types of haptics can be utilized to animate your app and craft an immersive user experience, however, they must be implemented thoughtfully.

Additionally, the haptic feedback experience can be enhanced by integrating diverse audio-haptic events. Although haptic communication relies solely on touch, the addition of auditory signals can give users a more complete experience. The audio’s pitch, volume, and duration can be customized to complement the transient and continuous haptic sensations.

Enhancing User Experience with Haptics

The significance of incorporating haptic feedback should not be undervalued; it is much more than just a trivial craze. Instead, it is a powerful instrument for augmenting the functionality of your software, leading to several positive results. These comprise higher conversions and sales, as well as greater user involvement. Even something as ostensibly minor as haptic feedback can exert a significant impact on a user’s perception of your app.

Considering the potential advantages, we highly recommend that the developers of this app include haptic feedback in their design. In doing so, they will be able to provide users with something distinctive, which is likely to retain their interest for an extended period.

Uncertain about how haptic feedback can elevate the user experience of your software?

Below are some options you can attempt:

  • Evoke responsive behaviour (when verifying an action or updating content).
  • Separate them into distinct slides or apply toggle switches.
  • Relevant Displays of Assistance (such as pinching to zoom in or out)
  • Prepare a response to long-press (when it triggers a contextual menu or gives access to fresh options)

Investigating the possibilities of haptics in your app can furnish an amplified user experience, but it is equally important to exercise a level of moderation when employing this technology. Your app should not be overwhelmed by haptic feedback, and it is advisable to maintain a balance between situations where haptic feedback is utilized and those where it is not. Striking this balance is crucial to delivering a satisfying and efficient user experience.

Small Details Make a Big Difference

It is expected that haptic technology will present new and fascinating opportunities for developers, which is why we have incorporated it in our projections for 2023. Undeniably, the most captivating of these are somewhat more advanced and refined. An interface that is founded on touch should not be disregarded, as it has the potential to be exceedingly formidable.

Integrating haptic features in user experience may result in a heightened level of contentment. This supplementary layer of interaction can be a delightful surprise for users, even if they are not initially aware of it, or cannot precisely determine its source. It is an excellent method to distinguish your application from the oversaturated world of apps, which is no minor accomplishment. Therefore, haptic features can aid in bringing a feeling of novelty and rejuvenation to the industry.

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