A Touch Notation for designing for touch screens by Matt Legend Gemmell



Here are a few examples of using Touch Notation to encode various gestures. When I’m creating formal documents using Touch Notation, I tend to use black for the number of fingers and blue for the entire gestural part, just to give a subtle sense of energy and motion to the gesture. You’ll find that the gesture instructions in tutorials in the iPad versions of the iWork apps do the same thing.

  • Tap (with 1 finger)
Tap with one finger
  • Double-tap with 3 fingers
Double tap with three fingers
  • Swipe right with 2 fingers
Swipe right with two fingers

“Within the last twelve to eighteen months, I’ve crossed a threshold whereby the vast majority of my work is now aimed at touch-screen devices. I often have to sketch out feature specs, interaction designs and so forth, and I enjoy working on paper whenever I can. I quickly encountered a problem: touch-screen gestures are difficult to describe concisely. To solve this problem, I created a means of talking about such gestures symbolically; I call it Touch Notation.”