From list of items, user wants to delete an item. Conducted User interviews and they summarizes to:

  1. Users from Old Age group prefer to select an item. Click on 'Delete' button.

  2. Younger users want to 'Swipe' the item to delete it. Similar to Gmail app to archive mail. This saves a 'Tap' compared to option 1.

Both user segments are important one. How should 'delete an item' feature be implemented?

4 Answers 4


Don't design a UI based on what people tell you they'd like -- that's a core tenet behind design in general. Otherwise, you can end up with convulted, hard-to-use interfaces. User interviews should serve as research into what kind of mental models, goals, needs, and workflows people have, not into feature requests. (I'd recommend you to read Designing for the Digital Age, or some other book or article that covers user research.)

As for your dilemma -- I'd recommend using a button, because:

  • Delete is a destructive action. Using a swipe to activate could easily lead to accidental deletes, as swipes are easy to trigger by accident, even if you have an "undo" feature. (This is different from archiving, as that action is non-destructive and reversible.)
  • Swipe actions are not discoverable. Even if you teach them when launching the app, the user can easily forget (your app is not the only app they use). Therefore, it would still be best to have a discoverable secondary UI. You can accomplish that with a button, so why bother with an additional swipe gesture?

why not both?

In order to teach the user that you can swipe left to delete, as you select it, the item should move just a little in that direction to swipe it. If you only tap and let goes, it's marked selected and snaps back.

If you can do other things with the selected items, move them to a folder, tag them, etc you'll want to keep that functionality.


Use a button. Swiping should only be used when dealing with "easy-to-return-to" states. Deleting is not one. Plus, swiping requires extra teaching to do. A button screams out "CLICK!" while a swipe has not pointers. Users WILL NOT KNOW until you tell them they can swipe. It's not as natural as a button.

There is also the accessibility issue with swipes. Many devices have poor touch screens, making it very difficult to constantly swipe.


If both the age groups are so much important for your product and you want to satisfy both the segments, you can implement both the modes (swipe and button).

Approach one: Provide a specific option in settings panel to switch delete mode.

Approach two: while registration (if it's available in the flow) ask the age and provide the mode based on your findings. But make sure you have the option to change the delete mode.

  • Thanks. I am also thinking of both modes. Second approach will be complicated. Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 6:31
  • Completed in what respect? Implementation?
    – bagaria
    Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 8:50
  • Yes implementation. Commented Jul 1, 2016 at 9:12

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