Pull down to refresh

By Philip Morton

The BBC has released the BBC News iPhone app in the UK, having been held up for several months by the BBC Trust.

Although overshadowed by the politics surrounding it, the app contains one interesting detail: an interaction known as ‘pull down to refresh’.

To update the news in the BBC’s app, you tap and drag the main content down, then release it. This interaction was first invented last October by Loren Brichter for what is now the official Twitter app. In the space of a few months, it has gone from relative obscurity to use by the largest broadcasting organisation in the world.

We take many interactions for granted. Dragging and dropping a file, double clicking an icon and scrolling down a web page seem so natural that we don’t think twice about them. It’s not often that new interactions appear and when they do, it’s even rarer for them to catch on so quickly. Don’t be surprised when you see it in the next app you download.

Philip Morton

I help businesses create better products and services by putting customer insight at the heart of the design process. In the last six years, I've worked with the likes of Sony PlayStation, HSBC, Sega, Tesco and TSB. In that time, I've seen our research, design and strategy work improve both the experience for customers and commercial outcomes for clients.

View Philip's profile

What do you think?