Android 101

Understanding and Using the touchscreen on the Android Phone

The Android phones have the touch function in them, and its not hard to understand how the touch works in these phones. There are quite a few extra features with the touch interface in each phone, but the basic touch functionality in majority of them is the capacitive touch. The simple finger touch is good enough make all the functions, changes to the icons, apps, widgets, the menu items and to make the onscreen Android keyboard work.

The touch functions in various ways, and each of it has its own response. Here are the various experiences with the Touch on Android:

Touch: The most simplest way to do the actions on your Android phone. Any action like opening the apps, typing the numbers on the phone keypad, a simple touch is enough.

Android Touch Response

The touchscreen responds to a feather-touch by the finger, when it is the capacitive touchscreen. Android Phones usually have the drag-to-unlock feature. Shown in the picture is the Galaxy S III by Samsung, where the screen responds to touch but unlocks when the finger is dragged till center of screen.

Touch and hold: Touching and holding the finger on the screen does some other function than just the clicking. The usual touch+hold would open up the options for any app when you are doing that in the App lists page. When on the home screen any shortcut or widget is held for for more than a second, it would make the selected item movable where you could move the same to the other home screens or drag it down to the red flashing bin icon which would delete the icon or selected item.

Select and Drag: As explained above, you could keep the touch on the screen intact and just drag the finger along with the selected item to anywhere on the screen. If you lose the control on the touch and the finger is taken up away from the screen while you were dragging the item, the items remains at the position where you lost the touch. The same applies with the dragging of a home screen while all the home screens are brought at one place for editing.

Swipe/Slide: Sliding is one of the functions you would do whenever the home screens or the app pages are to be scrolled from left to right or vice-versa. It is not just in these pages, but in many applications too. For example, when you open the Calendar widget, to browse through the different months you need to slide the screen. Swyping is one of the most popular and regularly used way of using the Android keyboard.

Swype touch

Swype function helps in making typing easier where the users with good QWERTY knowledge can swype over the letters to type the desired words.

Swyping is not helpful only with the typing but even in many Android games, one of the popular ones being the Fruit Ninja game where you swype the finger like a knife to cut the fruits. This is seen predominant in the capacitive touchscreen phones.

Pinch: This is a multi-touch function which would need two fingers at a time to pinch the screen and activate functions like zooming in / out the pictures in the gallery, the map locations, bringing all the home screens in a single screen to organize them, zooming the web pages etc.

Double tap: Double tapping the screen does some of the functions similar to what the pinching does. Double tap within a second in the Google Maps, and it would zoom in and out the location. It isn’t always helpful because in Google Maps, one would want to go into a few levels of zooming but double tapping does the zooming in and out for just one level.

The touch functions are easy to use, and you could understand the touch response of the phone through the settings where the calibration would make you understand whether the Android phone you are using has a multi-touch function or not.

In most of the Android phones, the touch on the screen or the touch-sensitive keys would be assisted by a minute vibration that lets you know that you have hit the screen. It is called the Haptic Feedback, which can be turned off by the user if they prefer not receive any vibrations, by going to the Sound settings.

Touch Vibrate Feedback - Haptic

Haptic feedback is the light vibration response when the screen or the touch-sensitive keys are pressed.

Touch Limitation – Resistive vs Capacitive Touchscreen

The touchscreen is either a capacitive one or resistive. Although both have their own pros and cons, the capacitive touchscreen is a better one providing the users an option to use the screen in the Android phone in a better way with more accessibility. The capacitive touchscreen would support the multi-touch, pinch to zoom and a lot more based on the intuitive features of the phone.
Most of the Android Phones come with the Capacitive touchscreens, and with the advanced versions of the Android, i.e. Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich, the touchscreens are expected to be the capacitive ones for users to get a better experience.

Developer Options – Pointer Location and Visual Feedback

If someone wants to explore something more than just the touch, you can do that by checking out how the touch is responded to, and at which place exactly the pointer is seen. There are a few options like the checking out the pointer location, and a visual feedback in the form of a big white circle that shows where exactly the touch response is being produced.

Touch Developer Options



  1. ana georgievska

    October 16, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    great tips

  2. Haimamamia Lee

    October 11, 2012 at 2:17 am


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.

Most Popular

To Top