Swiping stories and how mobile interaction patterns evolve

Once in a while a new interaction pattern pops-up and you wonder why it took so long to figure out.

The ‘stories pattern’ is one of these patterns. It’s a truly native mobile experience. Born on native.

Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Medium
Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Medium

In design we often still treat the touch screen as a regular computer screen. We moved from skeumorphic design, a way to make people understand a new medium by reusing anchors from the past to a more mobile originated visual design.

Infinite scroll
Facebook figured out that if you build a smart infinite feed people will scroll indefinitely. It’s still a web pattern based on the scrolling behavior of your mouse. It works fine on mobile too.

Tinder familiarised us with card swiping on a phone. Using one hand to hold your phone and use your thumb to go through dozens of cards like an experienced card dealer in a casino throwing out the cards.

Google matured the card concept with their Material Design guidelines and Google Now.

The stories pattern
Snapchat was the one to crack and grow the ‘stories’ pattern. Successfully copied by Instagram and now rolled out into Facebook (test) and Medium.

It’s a way to horizontally swipe through something with one hand, like a deck of cards. Only the cards fill the entire screen.
There is no vertical scroll or partial view, it’s screen to screen to screen. Building a horizontal oriented infinity feed of little experiences or moments.

Stories features on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Medium
The great thing about this pattern is that it works just better with the motion of your thumb.

You stretch your thumb a little bit and there is something new.

Figure from: A comparison of smartphone interface guidelines using primary navigation patterns by Pukar Bhattarai, HCI-E MSc Final Project Report 2016 UCL Interaction Centre, University College London.
Figure from: A comparison of smartphone interface guidelines using primary navigation patterns by Pukar Bhattarai, HCI-E MSc Final Project Report 2016 UCL Interaction Centre, University College London.

Something that might be fun. It’s addictive, you can peek at the next card, on small swipe and your on to something new that might be exciting or not. The Skinner box.

This is the one-armed bandit of mobile. It’s a nice and small gesture and it’s addictive.

Good design is as little design as possible

Dieter Rams, 10 principles for good design

As often with great design. In retrospect it’s staring you in the face. Why something so simple was so complicated to discover.

@lly Hago Next

Hago Next @lly NFC
@lly Hago Next app

Hago Next

@lly is the worlds first mobile cleaning kit. It helps cleaning personnel during their working day. Enabling autonomy and self control. Reducing management and improving quality.

@lly redefined the Dutch cleaning market. Resulting in a ground-breaking cleaning company, Hago Next. The service added transparancy to a very closed industry. The mobile service is being used over a 1.000.000 hours at companies like Coca Cola, O’Neill, Achmea and Ziggo.


Design Research, Product Design, Product Owner, Product Strategy


2010 – Current


Vebego, vebego.com, Hago Next

Hago Next Design Research
Hago Next Interview
Hago Next @lly NFC
Hago Next NFC
Hago Next Concepts
Hago Next Press
Hago Next de Volkskrant 2014

de Volkskrant

Redesign Volkskrant.nl and iPhone app
Redesign Volkskrant.nl

De Volkskrant

Over the past decade the news industry is in a major transition. It has to reïnvent the business model and distribution model. At the same time, we consume more news then ever before. It’s a growth market that has to reinvent itself. This is what really attracted me to the media industry. De Volkskrant is a leading Dutch newspaper.

At the Volkskant I worked as Senior Interaction Designer and Product Owner for 5 years on a range of projects focussed on web, mobile and innovation. I did two redesigns of the major News website Volkskrant.nl. I build the first video player and worked on video distribution to mobile and smart TV’s. I worked on satellite websites around travel and opinion. I explored new distribution models of news resulting in the first API. I worked on mobile and widgets.


Design Research, Product Design, Product Owner, Interaction Design, Visual Design


2005 – 2010


Volkskrant, www.volkskrant.nl

Volkskrant iPhone app

My iPad

Finally, last week I bought myself an iPad. I resisted long enough and was completely out of excuses not to buy a new iPad 2 in Austin :)

iPad 2 line Austin

I wasn’t really new to the device, Marco (my partner at SOMEHOW) brought the original iPad to the office quite quickly after it was released and I played with it a lot. Owning one is different. Like a mobile phone the device is personal, and the most interesting applications for it are personal as well.

The applications I like most are the ones where my social networks organize and select the content. I don’t need newspaper applications or magazine apps. For now, those applications are still very one dimensional. How weird this might sound, they aren’t very good in filtering, yet.

The most interesting ‘mag’-like applications for now I think are

The native Twitter application, that handles hyperlinks extremely nice (free)
Reeder, a great Google Reader application (paid) (you should also try the desktop application)
Tweetmag, a social wall/magazine (paid)
Zite, a social magazine (free)
Flipboard, a social magazine (free)

These apps are all using your social “link” networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader).

If you ask me, this is the future of the magazine.

Content as Software

I recently worked on a large mobile project for the Volkskrant. The project contained mobile websites and numerous applications for different devices, including iPhone apps (iTunes link).

The Volkskrant on iPhone

Content as Software
I learned about the term content as software from Gerd Leonard. Not only does it sound very interesting, it’s also a very exiting development that follows from a series of events. A move from RSS, followed by widgets, API’s and standardization in platforms.

These new platforms like Adobe Air or the iPhone development platform make developing applications easier and accessible to a new and broader groups of developers.

On the other side software is being replaced by the – todays very powerful – browsers. Google is working hard to replace Microsoft Office functionality with Google Docs, and adding even more (web) functionality like working remotely together on documents.

A computer without internet connection is half the fun, or to most people useless. The computer as a communication device needs the web as much as it needs power. Todays software needs the web.

Should a media company make software?
Content as Software. Should media companies deliver content as software? We decided to with the Volkskrant iPhone application because we think an application gives a better user experience and is more effective on the iPhone platform compared to a mobile website. The New York Times released a desktop application based on Adobe Air. The content in the application isn’t unique, the presentation is.

A great advantage of distributing software for publishers is that it gives control to some extend. For example the Times Reader has free and subscription only articles in the same application. The “free” user experience is good, but they will try to persuade you to become a subscriber.

So, should a media company make software?
I don’t know. Just because we now can as easily develop software as we can develop websites doesn’t mean we should. From a pure logic perspective it doesn’t add much value to the content. It’s still the same content. From an emotional perspective it does add extra value to the experience, it’s a nice package. And that’s something you shouldn’t underestimate. An application is also more persistent, it’s always there on your startup screen, desktop or in your dock.

The best thing with content as software is to just try it. Like you would try with a website. Release soon and often. Todays software is like the web.

The Volkskrant on iPhone
Screenshots of the Volkskrant iPhone news application

Times Reader
Screenshot of Times Reader Desktop application