Rule of Thumb: The Must-Have Designing Principle

It has been more than a decade since we entered the digital touch era and without even us realizing, tap, slide, and zoom have become as natural to us as breathing and walking.

Now at a time when touch has become our answer to getting everything we need from our mobile journey, it is only apt that the focus of every design guideline basic has come on how well optimized a screen is for the thumb – the origination of every touch movement we have on our smartphones or palm fitting devices.

In this article, we are going to look into some of the age-old thumb zone design guidelines that are worth remembering every time you work on a new mobile application.

But before we move ahead, let us bring all the readers on one page by answering What is a Thumb Zone?

A thumb zone, as any experienced mobile app design agency will tell you, is that portion of the screen which is within the comfortable reach of a user as the hold the device single-handedly. Now, as a general rule of thumb (pun intended) a majority of the navigation button and clickable elements should be within the reach of the users’ thumb.


Well with the definition now attended to, let us move on with the designing guidelines that one should follow to bear with the thumb zone.

A. Free of Obstacles


The thumb should be given a clutter-free experience and for that, you might want to rethink on how you present information and options on the thumb zone. The general idea is to use drop-down menu and sticky footnotes to make the whole experience effortless. Also, it helps to design every app screen in a way that every single screen calls the users to perform a singular primary action and not multiple.

B. Pro-Thumb Gesture Controls


Everything from unlocking the screen to sliding from one page to another within the app should be designed in a way that it is thumb friendly. One way to test if your application is thumb gesture friendly is to work on your application single-handedly while it is lying straight on your palm. If you are able to perform all the primary actions without stretching your xanax with no prescription needed thumb, yours would be an example of thumb-friendly gesture control.


C. Thumb Movement


Expecting a design to fit inside the thumb zone in the screen can turn out to be more of an impossible to achieve task when you are taking into consideration the new age devices that boast of their high inches count which have now become synonymous to User better user experience – visually.

Ideally, what you should aim for is not to fit all the important menus and action elements inside the thumb zone but within the stretched area – the area that is between the thumb zone and the part of the screen which is just too difficult to reach.

So, when we say Thumb Movement based designs, we are keeping into account not just the thumb zone but also the stretched portions.


D. Keep Cards Mapped Inside the Thumb Zone


Cards have over time proved themselves to be a very useful design element especially on a mobile landscape when all that the users are seeking is a short content burst with an actionable item taking them to the next stage.

Now normally because the cards are popped up at the center of the screen, it is well-within the thumb zone or the safe stretched zone. The problem, however, comes when you give the Close or X option outside the thumb zone, maybe in one of the top corners of the phone screen. The simple solution of this is to give a close option at the bottom two corners of the card. Yes, it was that easy.

So, here were the four guiding principles on how to design your mobile application in a way that the thumb zone is fully attended and answered to well within the users reach.

The only thing to remember her besides the four basic guidelines is the fact that irrespective of how well your mobile app design is, it will never be a success until you are well up on your thumb game and have ensured that the success deciding factor of your app – the thumb is given all the rightful attention.

What other design guidelines do you follow when designing for your user’s thumb? Let us know in the comment section below.

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