Google Announces New Gesture Navigation Guidelines for 2020

In recent years some smartphone manufacturers have started to include their take on gesture navigation, a decision which led some troublesome issues for users and developers alike.

Google plans to minimize the issue with the help of new guidelines of manufacturers. They will be mandatory for all the devices released after January 2020 and have the potential to improve the experience for everyone.

Some users may not be happy about this, but there are some advantages. For example, the Edge Panel which was introduced by Samsung with the help of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge can be activated when users swipe inward on the glass edge. The simple gesture conflicts with the swipe-in from the side gesture employed by Google to navigate to the previous screen. It is not hard to see why this seems like poor gesture design.

From now on, Google stipulates that third-party gestures offered by custom UI will be limited to the top one-third of the screen. The new rule will fix many of the issues related to gestural navigation in Android 10, including the Edge Panels offers by Samsung or using a left-hand menu included in many apps.

Within the guidelines, Google also mentions the fact that the length of a gesture can be customized.

Gestures have been linked to the home launcher since Android 9 Pie, and the use of a different home screen launcher would disable the gestural system. This will no longer happen as Google is releasing a new patch that alters this behavior in the case of Pixel devices, and vendors will also have to abide by this.

A new way to call up Google Assistant is also mentioned. Since most models that are released in recent years have abandoned the classic home button, users who wish to use the feature will have the option to swipe from the bottom corners as a trigger. An alternate way will be available for manufacturers who wish to use custom gestures.

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