I am currently working on an app and came across the following. Let's say we are making a table with whatever data (music as example) to use on a mobile device. What will the user like more swiping horizontal or vertical? To be more clear when you have your device in portrait what is more liked swiping from left to right (horizontal) or from up to the bottom (vertical)? What is in general more easy to do with your finger? I personally like the horizontal more, but this is maybe just an opinion.

I am not looking for an answer what is easier to code or how to code it. I am just interested in what is more liked among the users of mobile devices (maybe there has been a research on this, love to see it ;) ). And I am interested in what is better for your finger (maybe it does not matter or maybe it does).

3 Answers 3



From Nielsen:

Desktop websites have a strong guideline to avoid horizontal scrolling. But for touch-screens, horizontal swipes are often fine. Indeed, mobile-device users typically expect to horizontally swipe their way through a carousel.

There's also this research from Poynter showing a similar trend:

iPad users have an overwhelming instinct to swipe horizontally through a full screen photo gallery, regardless of portrait or landscape orientation.

And this research from UX movement to further support this.

However, note that most of these references involve photos or photo galleries. Yet, they clearly show that horizontal swipe is definitely something to consider.

Gestalt law of continuity

I personally feel that Gestalt law of continuity could be more of a major player here:

Oriented units or groups tend to be integrated into perceptual wholes if they are aligned with each other. The principle applies in the same way for elements arranged along lines as well as for patterns built from corresponding lines themselves.

In the following example, the line of continuity is horizontal, so such arrangement call for horizontal swipe:

Four squares arranged horizontally

The line of continuity in the next example (a typical table layout) is vertical, calling for a vertical swipe:

Four short and wide rectangles stack on top of each other

The following example has no clear line of continuity. The research above suggests horizontal swiping is preferred:

A matrix of 4 by 4 squares


It depends on the data.

If it's fewer records with more individual data points for each record, it's likely a horizontal table. If it's many records with fewer data points for each record, it'd likely a vertical table.


Personally, I can swipe left easily, while trying to swipe up/down results in me swiping on a diagonal angle. Personally, horizontally is much better.

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