I'm currently working on a concept that allows user to "fling" table view cells in the reordering process (you can watch my short demo here). I have broad experience with iOS apps but haven't seen such solution in any app. I think that this is a good idea, as its not changing the standard reordering user experience but only extends it. I know that user cannot be 100% sure where his cell will land if he flings it, but in some cases exact place doesn't really matter.

My question is: Do you know any live apps that implements such a solution? Maybe on other than iOS platforms? How do you feel about my solution?

  • Just curious, what are the cases in which exact position doesn't matter?
    – Jawa
    Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 16:07
  • 1
    Lets say daily to do list or list of subtasks. It could be especially convenient for user who have some small amount of items in table view (lets say 10, which are all on the single screen) and he wants to quickly put something at the top or bottom. The problem is that natural grip of the smartphone is thumb operating over the four fingers behind the smartphone, which makes this grip safe. In case when you move your thumb significantly up or down the grip stops to be safe - it becomes rather like lever. Commented Dec 29, 2013 at 16:41
  • "top" and "bottom" are quite exact positions to me
    – Aprillion
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 11:28
  • Netflix has a "Send to Top" icon on each item in your DVD Queue (desktop site). It's not flingable, but if it were, I'd be flinging DVDs all day. Looks like a fun interaction. Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 14:21
  • @Jawa Say you made a grocery list and your walking down the isles looking at said list in this format and checking off items as you get them. Next thing on the list is ice cream but thats all the way on the other side of the store. Fling that ice cream down to the bottom of the list (doesn't have to be exactly last) and deal with it later. (maybe better ways and a bit of a corner case but a quick reasonable example)
    – DasBeasto
    Commented Jan 19, 2016 at 16:50

2 Answers 2


I’ve never seen a solution like this. Facebook Paper allows for chat bubbles to be tossed around the window (if I remember correctly), but I haven’t seen any exploration in roughing productivity, which is what I would call this type of feature.

I’m not sure there is a valid use-case for this as the organized person has a pretty specific idea where they want an item, and the scattered user didn’t open the app. As a person who organizes in-app often I would want the developer to come up with better hierarchy or list traversing before I would start tossing things around.

In iOS there is an undo feature; To access the feature you need to shake the device. It seems harmless, but it’s a high threshold for the feature so, at least in my observations, it goes unused.

Imagine being in a meeting and you need to shake your phone.

This feature requires a physics-accurate gesture, which would look odd outside of gaming.

Also, when a user throws an item in many other apps, it is to close a full screen photo, hide a popup, or in the case of Google now and their email app, it’s used to discard. The gesture of toss is kinetically melding with that of the paper toss to a trash can or pushing the item off the desk and out of view.

On the other hand, it is an exciting development in UI.


I prefer a more controlled approach to sorting or re-ordering.

I would prefer to have different sort options, like "sort by date", "sort by name", sort by priority".

The "fling" gesture looks to me like discarding the item. If you could animate the movement of the item that has been moved, and show the user where it has ended up, then it might be helpful.

Good article here on searching, sorting, and filtering (not about re-ordering though).

Maybe consider cards rather than boxes? If I "flung" a card, I might expect it to go to the top of the stack.

I also think that if you are using material design, things should behave like they would in the real world.

  • Actually flinged cells disappear just as the other cells that are getting out of the view while scrolling, so I dont see why people would think that these cells are getting discarded. Sorting... I agree, some kind of sorting is ok, but it would require going into details of the cell/object, changing the priority (plus have some sort of priority scale, which is often confusing: is zero highest or lowest priority?), and going back to see the result... Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 7:06

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