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For actions like "Edit" and "Delete", which should go with Swipe left and Swipe right? I myself found Swiping left (right handed) is less natural than Swiping right, so "Delete" can be assigned to Swipe Left. Any use case on this gesture that you recommend?

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Generally swipe right is a forward or positive action, left is a back or negative action.

But unless you are careful and particularly when you are choosing between quite unrelated options using swipes at all can be very unintuitive.

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  • I suspect that this very much depends on culture. – Travis Sep 22 '14 at 21:36
  • You might think so but in countries where the writing reads the other way the browser forward and back arrows are not reversed! – JamesRyan Sep 23 '14 at 9:23
  • But eye tracking heat maps are, even when viewing non-text data. I'm not saying one way or another - I'm just saying it's probably worth a bit of research on the part of the implementer. – Travis Sep 23 '14 at 13:38
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I'd say that guidelines for actions when swiping left contra right on list elements aren't really established. Looking at the Android UI patterns you usually dismiss/exit elements by swiping them either right or left. Meaning, swiping right or left invokes the same action.

If you want some reference I can suggest the Sony email client which has different actions for swipe direction. Swiping Right will trigger a remove of the list item (then also providing an "Undo" action in the same element which the user can tap or swipe back in the opposite direction to trigger). Whereas swiping Left will provide two different actions on tap, either "Move to folder" or "Mark as read").

These patterns are formed by Sony themselves, they didn't really have any reference. It's a delightful feature however and it does feel natural, but users will most likely not recognize it as something familiar at first.

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One disclosure though is to not rely solely on this pattern to trigger these actions (which you may already be fully aware of). Hiding fundamental actions behind interactive patterns such as these are nifty for the ones that discover them, but detrimental for novice users who won't. So keep the actions also on a details page or similar of the items.

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  • Piggy backing on my comment on @JamesRyan's answer, I suspect that Sony's implementation was influenced by their right-to-left read-direction. Just to add a bit more to think about. – Travis Sep 22 '14 at 21:41
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I would say, it depends,... ;) Have a look at the platform you are developing for. For ios for example: swipe left shows "delete/mark/more" and swipe to right opens a option to mark the row (email for example as: mark as unread). So there is no clear "guideline" which direction to use. Use the direction which the target platform offers, so you can make sure, user does not have to learn a new gesture or even worse, are confused by a misleading (180°) solution.

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Mailbox app does this with visual feedback such as "Red" arrow or 'X' to delete and "Green" arrow or check mark to archive. You can see this as you swipe and know what you are going to to do if you continue. This is better than having to remember the swipe direction/actions.

Mailbox Swipe actions

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