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I notice that touch apps rarely make use of the "drag n drop" (dnd) idiom, and instead dragging is almost always used for scrolling.

Is there a reason for this? Is it confusing or "wrong" to use dnd on touch? What about where scrolling is also required: can they be mixed effectively?

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maybe not duplicate, but very similar to:… – TJH Aug 6 '12 at 7:29
Related/maybe duplicate? Is it a good user experience to have drag and drop in tablet apps?. Also note that both Android and iOS homescreens use Drag and Drop to move icons, so it's certainly not absent. – Ben Brocka Aug 6 '12 at 11:54
Very similar on both counts, I concede. Duplicate? I can't decide. – aaaidan Aug 6 '12 at 21:58

I think there are several reasons for it.

  1. First and foremost, it is tricky to do if you already have scrolling implemented. It is possible to do, but it would require solutions like lists where you can scroll in one direction (say, vertical), and then use the other direction to 'detach' the item from the list, after which you can drag it in any direction. That is not a trivial action to do, to learn, or (off topic here) to implement.
  2. Lots of touch interfaces have been geared towards small screens. Drag & drop often doesn't make sense on those screens, as it usually works by showing two or more containers of items you can drag & drop items between. However, these small screens are usually designed in a way that there only is one such container visible at any time. Still, on tablets or other larger-screen touch enabled systems, it could be used.
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Part of the problem with small screens is that your finger is in the way, making it difficult to see what you are dropping on. – Brian Aug 6 '12 at 13:18
Good point! Thanks for bringing that up. – André Aug 6 '12 at 13:38
@Andre +1 and congo for 1K mark :) – sree Aug 6 '12 at 18:00
Issues we have encountered implementing this have pretty much all been covered: 1 - hare to implement on screens that already scroll. 2 - cant fit many options on screen so makes drag and drop undesireable. 3 you cant see what you are doing because your finger is in the way – Sheff Aug 7 '12 at 10:44

Another aspect that hasn't been mentioned is the loss of Long Press functionality by using a drag and drop field. Especially in Android, long press has come to represent the Right-Click of the touch world. Where a mouse has left and right, touch only has short and long.

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So you are saying that by using long-press to invoke drag-drop on an object, you can't also have a context menu? Good point. – aaaidan Aug 6 '12 at 22:59

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