I'm trying to come up with user interface ideas for a mobile app that can be entirely used with your thumb while holding the phone with one hand. While I've looked at Apple's guidelines it doesn't clearly define techniques.

For example, given a list of options, it's easier to swipe with the thumb to the right to delete a row, then selecting and tapping a delete icon.

I'm seeking a document or website that dives into a more practical approach to user interface design with a focus on mobile phones.

  • It's quite possible no document for this specific use case exists (I couldn't find one myself, but I'm not the most experienced at literature on the subject). User testing of your own ideas would be a good route. Make some guesses and test them. A few of my own guesses: Use the lower-right quarter of the screen for buttons. Use even larger click targets than usual. Vertical swiping is harder with the thumb; reduce reliance on it. Accidental clicks (almost dropped phone, gripped with thumb) will be more likely; be forgiving. May 11, 2012 at 15:01
  • I too am having a hard time find info on the subject, and disappointed the Apple's own guidelines are so lacking on the subject. The best solution I've found is to browse apps and try them, which is a time consuming process.
    – Reactgular
    May 11, 2012 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


If I remember correctly Josh Clark's book "TapWorthy" has some pretty useful info on things like how to design for average thumb range, best practices for interfaces based on how people hold phones.

Also Daniel Wigdor's "Brave NUI World" is pretty much a textbook but if you're up for it theres a ton of useful information and research.

  • Just got the download version of TapWorthy. This is a great book. Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks again.
    – Reactgular
    May 11, 2012 at 17:03
  • @MathewFoscarini Awesome! glad I could help. May 11, 2012 at 17:56

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