Yet we do see desktop UI in some of the most popular mobile apps. The biggest offender is the “junk drawer” button. Facebook uses it in their app.
That junk drawer button feels like a cop out.
The folks at Instagram invented a new native touch gesture. Liking a photo by double tapping the actual photo itself.
Previously, on the desktop web, liking a photo or some other thing, meant moving your mouse to a small (like, heart, fav) button and then clicking it.
The Instagram guys ditched the requirement for a little button click and replaced it with a big touch friendly gesture. Two taps and bam, a heart pops up and you’re done. Very satisfying.
I agree about gestures as a natural way to communicate actions on mobile — but conflating a menu/navigation item with an action (liking, republishing, etc.) seems to compare apples to oranges. For apps like Facebook and Path with full featured experiences (streams within streams, events, apps management) — I find the menu button + sideswipe gesture really works. I also appreciate that Tumblr’s text/photo post gestures are shortcuts and alternatives - Hiding important functionality behind gestures may be something that users evolve to learn, but the road there is still long (I was watching some women exclaiming how hard Instagram was to use the other day!)