I have a situation where I don't really know if there is a possibility that the user experience can get sloppy. Its specifically for an iPhone app if it matters.

Basically, I have two views, a list view and a detail view. When you click the list view, it opens the detail view. To go back to the list view user just swipes left to right. I think it would be intuitive (also adding a tutorial/tips for first users and show the gestures).

I also want to have an image gallery as a carousel, and to change a picture, a user needs to swipe left or right. Can using the same gesture on two elements—navigation and carousel—make a user suffer when interacting with the interface? If yes, how can I approach this?

  • It's not an answer, but the iOS Reddit app Alien Blue also supports horizontal swipe gestures for navigating back and forward through the view stack, as does IE on touch devices. Both apps seem to default to scrolling the content (if there's some horizontal scrollable element under the finger), except when the swipe comes from the very edge of the screen (in which case it defaults to the back/forward gesture).
    – Kit Grose
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 3:33
  • Also consider this related question.
    – Kit Grose
    Commented Aug 26, 2014 at 3:37

2 Answers 2


The fact that you want to use a "tutorial" to explain the gestures, which could provoke a "wrong" behaviour, if made on the carousel, seems to me to be a design smell. I agree, lots of users know the "swipe-to-get-back" gesture, but I think you should still provide a back link. Have a look the the iOs mail app. They provide the gesture and a button too. The gesture i learned by myself, but at this time i have used the app for multiple times.

Regarding the image gallery, have you considered to make the swipe-through-gallery gesture up and downwards, or simply a scroll? These are well known interactions and you can provide still some "carousel" (think of the dial wheel of date selection for example). If you still want to have a carousel which is swiped horizontally, I would recommend to stick to a back button and drop the "swipe-to-get-back" gesture.

Just my 2 cents.


If they are touching a different area I suspect you can use the same gesture for both. As to the question of if this will confuse the users, I would say it depends on how its set up. Carousels are often interacted with in the left / right manner because they re-enforce with graphics the mental model of having to go left / right in a stack of images. Going back using a left to right swipe is a more tenuous mental model... But I have seen it used in multiple android apps. This is the interaction where I would consider adding some sort of arrow or overlay showing the possibility of doing this gesture - to help enforce the mental model.

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