Why The Pull-To-Refresh Gesture Must Die

about 5 years ago | From Fast Company | Author: Austin Carr

The pull-to-refresh gesture is far from new. An endless number of apps use the interaction for in-app content updates, including Apple's native email client, social apps like Twitter and Foursquare, and most news applications such as The New York Times. But years after designer Loren Brichter first dreamed up the novel interaction to get rid of UI clutter, Systrom and others now feel it’s outmoded--an unnecessary extra step. After all, smartphones are fast and strong enough to auto-refresh. And Systrom says moving beyond refresh buttons and actions will give mobile services a more “real-time” feel.

In earlier versions of Instagram, the app featured a button that allowed users to refresh the images displayed in their feeds. Now, the button is gone--replaced by an Instagram Direct inbox icon--and the Instagram team moved to the pull-to-refresh paradigm. “We introduced pull-to-refresh, so now when you pull on your feed, it just refreshes,” Systrom says. “[But] I’d like [to get to] a day when you didn’t have a refresh button--where it just updates....

       

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