Have there been any usability studies on iOS 3D/Force touch with less tech-savvy users? I've casually observed older people having issues with 3d touch using apps. They tend to press hard and long on screens which inadvertently triggers the 3d touch options as opposed to the primary action (like a tap to open). Engineers are advocating adding it our app but I'm worried it might confuse some of our older less savvy users.

OpenTable search result list is a particularly bad example of this.

Does anyone have thoughts?


Does 3d Touch solve an actual problem you have with the interface? Based on your statement, it sounds a bit like "this would be cool tech and we want to use it somewhere".

I agree completely with the issues you've experienced from an interaction standpoint especially with older users. There's another conceptual issue though. 3d Touch isn't overly expected in apps, therefore relegating it to a power user feature (you have to know its there to use it) and almost always replicates another path to the same goal.

For most apps and users its more effort than the result it provides.

In my opinion, Apple was solving an issue at the OS level such as getting more info from an icon. More generally in the app layer, its a solution in search of a problem.

All that being said, hard evidence is difficult to come by, I was only able to dig up these two:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563216301686 https://www.nngroup.com/articles/3d-touch/

Both conclude it's not really a barrier but that you probably shouldn't use it for mission-critical tasks either.


Anecdotal, but I have to say I think many of the applications of force touch / 3D Touch are pretty bad.

The worst case is when you have both long press and force touch actions on the same element. It quickly becomes difficult to get the one you want.

This is the case on the iOS home screen (Springboard), where trying to switch to icon move mode becomes difficult. The same applies to links in Safari, when you try to get to “contextual menu” (open in a new tab etc.).

It seems things have improved over time (not sure if it’s due to newer phones being better at it or if I finally mastered the difference between the two?), but I still feel it’s an overload of two similar gestures.

With Apple now removing 3D Touch from the iPhone XR and switching to “Haptic touch” which seems to be a different form of overload, I really feel this hasn’t quite delivered on its promises. The only 3D Touch feature I actually use is the keyboard trackpad mode.

Also remember that not all devices implement it, so you may end up with different user experiences on different devices, especially if your app is used alternatively on iPhone and iPad.

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