3D Touch & The Enterprise: Examples for a new UI Paradigm

Written by Michael Wass

This is the third of a three part series about 3D Touch and Enterprise mobility. For the first post, click here.

A New UI Paradigm for Mobile

3d touch examples

3D Touch is already being implemented in many popular consumer apps. In the previous post, we looked at how the likes of Instagram and Pinterest have used 3D Touch to further user engagement within their apps. However we’re wanting to look a little deeper, and to wrap up this blog series we’ve produced some examples of how we may use 3D Touch as part of our work at shinobicontrols. We’ve focused on charts for now, but here are a few proof of concept ideas we have at the moment. The purpose is to look at how Apple advise developers to use the API. In time, the complexity of what 3D Touch can do will evolve. New devices, particularly tablet form factors, will increase the utility of 3D Touch. As ever, developer efforts that become popular will eventually define what the new paradigms for 3D Touch on mobile become.

Examples: How might 3D Touch move charting forward?

Starting from the principle of ‘what can 3D Touch help a user do that they couldn’t do before?’, here are somenew ways of interacting with a data. In all images, the blue circle represents the point of force on-screen.

Peek at a Sparkline and Pop to a Chart

APPLE SAYS The UIKit peek and pop API lets you provide easy access, within your app, to additional content while maintaining the user’s context. Use the peek quick actions API to provide a press-enabled replacement to your app’s touch-and-hold actions.

Spark line detailed view

The simplest means of implementing 3D Touch in an app that uses a lot of data visualization would be to present important lists of information with a dynamic sparkline included in a datagrid. This gives a snapshot of immediate information, however using Peek and Pop we could dive into the entire context of that chart, without leaving the broader information set.

One push would ‘peek’ into the larger data set chart. The next would allow a user to dive into the follow animated and interactive chart.

Adding an action through a pressure-gesture

APPLE SAYS The UITouch force properties let you add customized force-based user interaction to your app.

set sell price


Our shinobicharts product has extensive support for gestures, but one of the things we’ve been asked over the last 12 months is how we can make the chart more interactive. Examples of this have included manipulating one series to see the impact on the next and using data visualization as a form of data input to extrapolate future scenarios.

With this customer feedback in mind, 3D Touch could add an interesting option for gestures when it comes to Financial charting. In most of our customer apps, the charts are an interactive visualization. They’re often sitting above a menu for buying and selling, a separate source of information to the desired action. What if we could use 3D Touch to perform buying and selling within the chart itself?

By touching a position on the series, a customer could decide whether to buy or sell by force-touching. A choice of buy or sell would appear on the left or right, above or below, and the user could drag their thumb towards which ever and go straight into an action, without leaving the chart.

Change the visualization within the visualization

APPLE SAYS On iPhone, the force of a touch has a high dynamic range, available as a floating point value to your app.

change chart type-1

Our customer’s apps sometimes include multiple chart types. This is usually selected from a separate menu, either drawn from a slide-in menu or a hovering menu above the chart. The problem with this is similar to the example above; in order to engage with the visualization in a new way, you have to walk away from the data.

Inspired by the example of Pinterest, what if you could change the chart type within the chart without leaving the datapoint you’d selected? This depends on context and use case, but there are many plausible scenarios where viewing the same data point in a different visualization context could provide more insight and meaning. It’s engaging and interactive, two points which we believe are fundamental to user retention and satisfaction when using a mobile app.

Apple’s Developer Resources for 3D Touch

Whilst we’ve attempted to keep this series relatively high level, there are resources available to help build prototype 3D Touch features into your app. There are a few good reasons for doing so soon; Apple are very fond of apps that utilise their latest tech, and often feature the best implementations on the main page of the app store. Competitors are already assessing options, and the likelihood is that 3D Touch will become a ubiquitous expectation.

This post marks the end of what was a very enjoyable series to write. However that’s not the end for 3D touch. We are planning to produce a series of blog posts that will provide tutorials to help implement 3D touch, in the new year. To be the among the first to know, sign-up to our mailing list below.


Quick Actions

Peek and Pop

Pressure Sensitivity