Let's take a look at Force Touch on Android

Let's take a look at Force Touch on Android
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Join us in a fun Sunday Debate on Force Touch. Come with your opinions and feel free to read some of our thoughts, then pick your side or play devil’s advocate to get your voice heard and engage in friendly discussion. You can read our food-for-thought or jump straight into the fray below!
Force Touch is a relatively simple technology from the end user’s point of view, but the actual process going on behind the screen is much more interesting than people give it credit for. We detailed some of the mechanisms and its benefits, as well as possible applications, on an analytical feature, and now that the Huawei Mate S (which we tried out!) is officially bringing the technology to Android in all its glory, we think it’s time to have a debate on how it can be beneficial to Android, and if it’s worth the trouble.


Force Touch on phones basically allows your screen to directly measure the force applied upon the glass, and the standard can also be used for different kinds of feedback. The two well-known players bringing it to mobile, Apple and Huawei, have mostly relegated the functionality as an extra layer of gimmicky input, but there are other ways in which it can provide a better user experience. One of them is through enhancing the UI, particularly Material Design and its many layers of depth. We will explore some of those thoughts below, but if you want to simply jump to the comments and discuss, we ask you:
  • Can Force Touch significantly enhance Material Design and the Android UX?
  • What functionality do you think Force Touch could allow for or enhance?
  • Should Flagships begin adopting the technology to explore new possibilities?
  • How much of a gimmick is it at the moment?
  • Can Force Touch ever be worth implementing as a standard?

UX and Material Design

Force Touch can synergize well with Material Design, because Material UIs have several layers and depth with many floating elements. Things such as the Floating Action button could thus have Force Touch read the amount of force you are applying onto the drawn object and react accordingly, and then realistically bounce back to normal as well once your finger leaves the screen. Things such as the ripples on list items could also be tied to the force of your touch to give Material interfaces a more lively, organic and responsive feel to them. Finally, Force Touch can speed up certain UI operations such as long-press, which is time-bound, and instead replace that with a force-press that allows you to access menus without waiting.
Moreover, force-feedback in some Force Touch implementations can trick you into thinking you’ve clicked a button, and this could give physical feedback to plain glass, solving an age-old problem of touchscreens. Lateral-force haptic feedback can even trick your brain into interpreting vertical movements and texture, which would play amazingly well with the actual material part of this UI standard where cards move up and down.

Adoption and Additional Cost

20150913174004349A big problem with adopting Force Touch at large is that it brings in many additional components and extra manufacturing process for something that has no real practical value other than subjectively enhancing the user experience. At the moment, Force Touch is marketed with gimmicks such as weighing oranges on a display, and OEMs have not explored its vast potential. The devices that are bringing the technology are expensive flagships, and the Huawei Mate S, in particular, is from a not too well-known OEM and will only be available in select markets.
The additional cost to develop and manufacture this technology means that phones that bring it may be priced at higher prices than the affordable flagships trending today, putting the innovators at a price disadvantage (especially since it’s not a pragmatic feature). Some OEMs like Motorola already have patents for the technology and others can make use of it in future phones, but those that don’t have experience with the development or production of Force Touch might find themselves simply avoiding it due to the cost, which limits its adoption. All of this for something that doesn’t add much practical value and is mostly another way to embellish our interfaces and access menus… for now, at least.

Debating

On one hand, Force Touch could bring an extra layer of interaction, beauty, and feedback to the Android user experience. So far, none of its implementations have proved to be revolutionary, and the Huawei Mate S isn’t making enough noise to be noticed. On the other hand, the Android flagship market is in dire need of innovation and OEMs have to find new ways to justify flagship pricetags. They can bow down to the affordable flagship or try to push their phones’ user experience forward to lure consumers in a market full of alternatives. It’s a nice thing to have, but certainly not necessary. That being said, do you think it has the potential to grow?
  • Can Force Touch significantly enhance Material Design and the Android UX?
  • What functionality do you think Force Touch could allow for or enhance?
  • Should Flagships begin adopting the technology to explore new possibilities?
  • How much of a gimmick is it at the moment?
  • Can Force Touch ever be worth implementing as a standard? 

Source: xdaDevelopers
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