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Understanding Windows Phone 7 Gestures

written by: •edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 1/31/2011

Windows Mobile was restricted by employing the stylus - but Windows Phone 7 is fully optimized in both hardware and via the Metro UI for using your fingers!

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    Windows Phone 7 - Use Your Fingers!

    Understanding Windows Phone 7 Gestures Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft’s first fully finger controlled mobile platform, which is made easy to use thanks to the Metro UI. While previous Windows Mobile devices could be controlled via finger or more commonly a stylus, Windows Phone 7 uses a capacitive touch screen which permits only a finger or finger-like object from being used.

    As such, for anyone who has graduated from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone 7, the game has changed. Indeed this interface change was a reason for Windows Phone 7 being unable to run Windows Mobile 6.x apps.

    Using a Windows Phone 7 device can be tricky for the first time, until you have come to terms with the various finger gestures.

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    Tapping

    The most basic Windows Phone 7 gesture is tapping, and there are several variations on this. A single tap is used to open or launch whichever app or tile you tapped, and is the most common gesture you will use.

    Meanwhile, double-tap can be used to quickly zoom in or out (of a picture or webpage, for instance) and should be done quite rapidly.

    Tap-and-hold is a very useful interaction feature of Windows Phone 7. This gesture opens any available context menus, opening up further options that you might have been unaware of. When used on an app tile, you will be given the option to Uninstall, whereas tap-and-holding a tile on the Start screen will allow you to move it to a new position.

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    Pan Left to Right Through Screens

    Windows Phone 7’s Metro user interface features a set of menus and screens that are wider than the user interface – which means you will need to pan left and right to see these. If you’re new to Windows Phone 7 this might seem strange, but it is very easy to get the hang of.

    All you need to do to pan is place your finger or thumb on the display and slide from left to right or up and down, keeping contact as you do. This is particularly useful for scrolling through the various Windows Phone 7 hubs, such as Pictures or the Marketplace.

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    Flick Through Menus

    Windows Phone 7 menus usually require the pan gesture – but larger menus might take a while to browse through using this method.

    If this is the case, the flick gesture is required, a faster, shorter version of the pan gesture which can also be performed in any direction (although usually up and down).

    When using the flick gesture it is safer to begin running your finger or thumbs across the screen in an area where there are no icons or menu items that you might accidentally tap.

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    Pinch and Stretch to Zoom

    The final Windows Phone 7 gesture for effective interaction with the Metro UI is the pinch and stretch to zoom gesture. This is really easy to do, and can be used for zooming in and out of photos and web pages. Try it out by opening the Pictures Hub and opening a photo – by pressing your finger and thumb together while they rest on your Windows Phone 7 display the image will zoom in, and by pulling your finger and thumb apart, the image will zoom out.

    These gestures will help you to get the best out of Windows Phone 7 – however, remember they might be slightly different for certain apps and games.