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We're having a debate on the direction a user ought to swipe to get to the next asset. Each screen is self-contained information. Should the user swipe to the right ----> to access the previous asset and swipe to the left <---- to access the next in a series of assets. Or vice-versa? Is there any literature that anyone can recommend?

What I think doesn't matter in this (although I have strong feelings about this issue). :-)

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5 Answers 5

You can think of your "Previous", "Current" and "Next" asset as a series of continuous card, such as:

+-------+ +-------+ +----------+ +---------+ +------+ +-------+ +-------+ 
| asset | | asset | | previous | | current | | next | | asset | | asset |
+-------+ +-------+ +----------+ +---------+ +------+ +-------+ +-------+

With this mental model, you would drag to your left in order to get to "next" and would drag to you right to get to "previous".

This is the standard order and gesture metaphor used in iOS. Surprisingly I could not find a reference to this in the iOS HIG, but I'm sure it is defined somewhere in Apple's ecosystem (I'll update if I find it).

In iOS you "move the content", not the scroll bar.

Now, what if you change the order?

+-------+ +-------+ +------+ +---------+ +----------+ +-------+ +-------+ 
| asset | | asset | | next | | current | | previous | | asset | | asset |
+-------+ +-------+ +------+ +---------+ +----------+ +-------+ +-------+

You swipe directions should now be reversed: left for previous, right for next.

Same concept if you do a vertical layout metaphor (I know the question is "horizontal", but I'm expanding...)

+-------+
| asset |
+-------+
+-------+
| prev. |
+-------+
+-------+
| curr. |
+-------+
+-------+
| next  |
+-------+
+-------+
| asset |
+-------+

In this case you would swipe up/down accordingly: up for next, down for previous. Lastly, if you inverted the order you'd swap your gesture directions.

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I am also surprised that it isn't easily found in the HIG. However, this is a great way to illustrate the mental model. –  Charles Wesley Feb 11 at 18:50
    
Right, just like I was referring to about reading a book. +1 for the visuals. –  Code Maverick Feb 11 at 18:51

The "apple" way is that the screen is locked to your finger.

This means that swipe left moves the content left. So if the "next" object is on the right you swipe LEFT to move right

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Apple OSX also took this route in a recent OS update; putting fingers on the touchpad and scrolling fingers down now moves the document up in the screenview. The opposite of how traditional touchpads work, but more in keeping with the 'finger locked to the screen' approach. –  JonW Feb 13 at 12:25

I would go with what you have mentioned here... swipe right ----> to access the previous asset and swipe left <---- to access the next in a series of assets. Reason being it follows the general pattern and wouldn't challenge user's perceptions. Alternatively, you can also have top down but that depends on the type of assets.

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It should function exactly as if you are reading a book. In left-to-right reading countries, you turn (or swipe) a page to the left to get to the next page and you turn (or swipe) a page to the right to get to the previous page.

So for the visual representation of your issue in accordance to the aforementioned statement:

  • Next asset: <<<<<<<<< Swipe Left <<<<<<<<<
  • Previous asset: >>>>>>>>> Swipe Right >>>>>>>>>
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There are two possible answers here.

If you have a process then the user should Swipe Left. This would fit in with the natural way in which users feel they should swipe. It also fits in with Apples own integration.

Apple swipe

However if your elements are simply items for the user to browse then you should implement it to go either way, in a endless loop.

Swipe directions

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