I'm working on a phone/tablet app (a musical instrument) whose play mode is full screen. I need a way to open a menu. I don't mind placing a button in one corner of the screen, but I think a normal button might be accidentally pressed when playing the app, and this would be extremely undesirable.

I think requiring a double tap would be accident-proof enough, as would a slide-to-unlock (iOS activation) mechanism.

added: It's a strumming (guitar like) thing, so I think swiping from an edge (like notifications pull down) would be too accident prone. Swipe from a corner along an edge would work, I think, so if there was an established symbol for that...

Are there any existing conventions for this kind of thing?

Added 23 Oct 2013: If there is not existing/established conventions for this kind of thing, I'm inclined to go with a slide-to-unlock (similar to iOS screen unlock) placed along the screen edge. But Apple may have a patent on this, at least in the U.S. I'll have to research the patent.

Added: I've factored out a question specifically about a long-touch symbol:

Symbol for long touch button?

  • How about a simple pinch gesture? Oct 23, 2013 at 11:27

4 Answers 4


What about a long-press? The paradigm is already well-established in the touch-interface space.

You could provide visual feedback that the press has registered, and animate the button until it is detected as a 'true' press.

This would not conflict at all with strumming motions, which shouldn't stay in any one spot for a long time.

  • Long press is definitely a possibility. Is there an icon/sign that would indicate "long press to activate"?
    – obelia
    Oct 23, 2013 at 19:28
  • 2
    Just use a normal 'menu' icon (e.g., the hamburger icon) but when it's pressed, give some indication (a pie slice that fills in and glows brighter?) that it needs to be held. Oct 23, 2013 at 19:41

In that case, what I suggest is call the 2 tap menu. Instead of double tapping the same button, you might want to consider placing the button apart. So to access the menu, tap on the black menu button, follow by tapping the white menu button. By doing do, we can eliminate the chances of accidentally double tap.

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  • Thanks again. Is this 2 tap menu currently used in an app?
    – obelia
    Oct 23, 2013 at 3:30
  • 1
    I have not seen any application that uses this concept yet. Anyone with experience with such menu might want to chime in.
    – SimonTeo
    Oct 23, 2013 at 3:33
  • 1
    I think putting the white button in the opposite corner is too much, a lot of users won't realize, how about displaying "Drag > for the menu" after the first tap or something like that_
    – aleation
    Oct 23, 2013 at 8:09
  • I agreed with you that it will be too much only when the user use it for the first (one) time. The game preferably can provide a tutorial to educate the user how to access the menu. Once the user know about how to access the menu, they will do it almost instantly. (left thumb follow by right thumb) Using the "Drag > for the menu" after the first tap will not be advisable as the user are expected to tap and drag (strumming a guitar)
    – SimonTeo
    Oct 23, 2013 at 8:16

Assuming your application do not require user to slide the screen. In that case you might want to look at sliding menu. Put the menu at the bottom or sides, then allow user to slide the menu in. What do you think?

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  • Thanks for your answer. It's a strumming (guitar like) thing, so I don't think a swipe from a side would work. Swipe from a corner along an edge would work, I think, so if there was an established symbol for that....
    – obelia
    Oct 23, 2013 at 3:14
  • @obelia the 'dog-eared corner' is an established cue for dragging from the corner to reveal a hidden page.
    – Gusdor
    Oct 24, 2013 at 10:37

How about an "X" gesture?

Since it involved two consecutive swipes over the same point and in perpendicular directions, that should be hard to do accidentally.

You could instruct users to swipe over an X shaped button to activate it.

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