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I'm in the midst of mocking a mobile app, of which its main goal is content consumption (reading items and deciding whether to rank them or not).

It currently has several screens with flipping, and several screens with scrolling. In my opinion constancy is important therefore, I prefer all pages using flipping (as in flipboard).

Flipping is better since:

  • It requires less movement of the user's fingers to move exactly one page.
  • You can easily reach a specific page by the number of flips (act as an anchor)
  • It gives a quick preview of the next/prior page without completing the flip action.

Scroll is better since:

  • It's more familiar

Did I miss the advantages for the flipping or for the scrolling ?

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1 Answer 1

Flipping is discrete while scrolling is continuous, the user decides when to start and stop scrolling. The user may decide to scroll just a few lines or half a page. You don't get that with flipping.

As opposed to flipping, scrolling allows for various speeds, depending on the speed of the hand gesture, and has inertia-like behavior, it can slow down towards the end. You can begin a quick scrolling motion (to scroll a lot of content) and stop it halfway if you see something interesting.

Flipping is safer in the sense that you can't flip too far by mistake.

If they usually advance one or two pages at a time, flipping may be a good solution, and it's great if they usually go page by page. But if they need to go to a distant page quickly, scrolling is probably better.

I'm not sure I agree that flipping requires less movement, you can set a scroll in motion with a very quick gesture, but you need many gestures to flip through many pages, as opposed to one long flick.

You can get a preview of the next page also if you just drag it into view and back without lifting your finger. It's not much more work than previewing by partial flipping, if at all.

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Thanks Vitaly. Scrolling gives you better control (speed, Enertia etc...) over the page but is it better than flipping. Do you really need this type of control when scanning a page? That's why I think these are less advantageous and more of an attribute of scrolling. For the "less movement" part I edited my question. for the "preview" part, using a "drag" technique will probably cause the user to loose his orientation even if the movement is small. –  AsafBO Sep 16 '13 at 4:49
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Also, flipping involves space and layout constraints that scrolling doesn't. Scrolling is typesetters' wet dream. –  Izhaki Sep 16 '13 at 23:01

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