What is the appropriate word for the dragging motion of a finger on a trackpad of a laptop or any surface with an intention to make an effect?
Slide is an alternative to move used in, e.g., the following description of possible gestures on a trackpad:
The verb you need here is swipe. Unlike the verb slide, the word swipe gives an indication of a sudden and swift movement. Here is an explanation of swiping from Tech Terms:
Swipe is a command used primarily with touchscreen devices, such as smartphones and tablets. It is also supported by some laptops with trackpads and desktop computers with trackpad input.
A swipe involves quickly moving (or "swiping") your finger across a touchscreen or trackpad. For example, swiping the screen from right to left in a photo viewing application typically displays the next photo. While browsing multiple photos, swiping up or down may allow you scroll through the photo library. Most smartphones also allow you to swipe left or right to switch between home screens.
Devices that support multi-touch may allow you to swipe with multiple fingers to perform different functions. For example, MacBook users can swipe left or right with two fingers to perform the Back or Forward command in a web browser. Swiping up or down with three fingers performs the Exposé command in Mac OS X.
Reference: Christensson, Per. "Swipe Definition." TechTerms. (June 21, 2012). Accessed Apr 6, 2017. https://techterms.com/definition/swipe.
This information is a little domain-specific (electronic devices), but JavaFX and Android libraries have names for user interactions like you've described.
- TouchMoved - means that a user has touched the screen and then moved their finger without lifting it off the screen
- Swipe[Direction(Down,Left,Right,Up)] - means that a user has touched the screen and then moved their finger in a single motion that approached the edge of the screen/application
Android refers to any user touch interaction as an 'onTouch' in general. The actual motion will be a motion event, specifically an 'ACTION_MOVE'as described a few pages down here. (It's called a 'HOVER_MOVE' if the user isn't actually touching the screen.) A motion event which intersects with an edge of the screen is an 'Edge[Direction(Bottom,Left,Top,Right)]', which seems to closely match the JavaFX concept of Swipe.
From this, I believe that the word you are looking for is a 'touch move'.
I would not say 'swipe' unless you are implying that the user has dragged their finger/tool to an edge. I would be careful with 'slide', since that implies a linear motion and the word doesn't even appear in the Android MotionEvent or the JavaFX Node documentation.
I do believe swipe to be the most correct term and reckon it has or will soon be the de facto recognized nomenclature for the dragging motion of a finger [on a trackpad].
The term scroll also has some application, meaning: "move displayed text or graphics in a particular direction on a computer screen in order to view different parts of them."
Where swipe tends to imply decisive action, scroll does not.
In this case, there is a distinct clue in the name 'trackpad', as your finger could be said to track across the pad.
Miriam-Webster's definition of track as a transitive verb, definition 3:
to travel over : traverse, track a desert
And for example:
She tracked her finger over the pad.
See also trace.
There is no single generic phrase for "the dragging motion of a finger on a trackpad" as there are multiple gestures with different effects. There are also gestures which only involve touching or pressing the pad without moving the finger on it, so gesture would be wider.
The most common gesture is tracking - the effect of moving the mouse pointer by 'pushing' it by one or more drags. The position is relative and the motion accelerates slightly based on the speed of the gesture. This different to how a touch tablet works - a tablet is absolute so interprets the position of the gesture as the scaled position of the pointer, whereas a trackpad keeps track of the mouse pointer and adds the effect of the gesture to that position. It's so common a gesture that it almost never gets mentioned, except of course in the name of the device.
You can swipe if the motion is to move a window, show the Windows Charms, accept or reject an option, or go back. Swipes usually ignore gestures which are too slow.
You can drag by selecting something in an application then touch and hold and drag your fingers.
You can scroll by dragging two fingers at once in the same direction.
You can pinch by dragging two fingers towards or away from each other.
There are other gestures, but there isn't a generic word for 'gestures which involve movement'.