Touch & Hold

One of the things that stands out for me watching the iPad guided tours is the heavy use of “touch and hold” to access additional options—that is, options in addition to whatever happens when you tap something. For example, touch-holding an address in Mail will give you the options of adding it to your address book, opening a map, or simply copying it to the clipboard. Touch-hold a photo attachment for the option to save it to your photos. It’s the touch equivalent of a right-click menu, providing contextual options for the thing you are touching. I’m of two minds about this. I’ve always believed that a right-click menu is for shortcuts and should never be the only way to access a function because it is, essentially, hidden. On the other hand, when interacting with content on the iPad, just like the iPhone, a lot of functionality is hidden, and for good reason. For touch and hold to work, it has to be pervasive. The user should carry the expectation that they can tap and hold anything to see what options exist for interacting with it.

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