As people have grown more accustomed to touch-screen controls on their iPhone, Apple has slowly begun to take the training wheels off, simplifying and introducing new gestures for people to learn.
The easiest example would be how the iPhone’s lock screen design changed after Apple’s introduction of iOS 7.
Before iOS 7, the slide-to-unlock button was bounded by a concrete border and rail for you to swipe left-to-right. But once Apple felt confident the gesture was second nature to users, they removed the guides in favour for a subtle arrow and instruction.
But Apple has introduced a new gesture in iOS 8’s iMessage, allowing users to painlessly send video messages. You’ll no longer have to first tap the button for media, select the option to take a video, take the video, and then hit “send.”
Instead, Apple has introduced a new radial gesture, and it’s a smart move that will only strengthen iMessage, while also keeping the native messaging app competitive in an increasingly crowded product category.
Here’s what the new gesture looks like.
It’s simple, and it removes a lot of the friction that slowed down the old way to send the message, while simultaneously introducing a new native gesture that people will quickly adopt. App design blogger Scott Hurff writes that this move reacts to the purpose of video messages nowadays: They’re mostly sent as a wordless status updates, showing through video where a person is or what they’re currently up to.
For app developers, the new radial gesture represents a new button for executing tasks and sending media. Just as people got used to swipe-up and swipe-down menus, this radial gesture means a faster way to record video and voice — a feature that is at the center of social networking apps.
Apple was the first to forge new territory with its multitouch displays in the first iPhone, and you could argue it’s been slowly defining what is possible with the technology, especially with our conceptions of what makes a comfortable and intuitive gesture.
While this trickle-down teaching method may not be the trailblazing innovation people have been pushing Apple to demonstrate, it serves a different purpose, opening up what’s possible within apps and stripping down the steps necessary to accomplish the tasks people do most.