Abstract : Multi-touch displays have become commonplace over recent years. Numerous applications take advantage of this to support interactions that build on users' knowledge and correspond to daily practices within the real world. 3D applica-tions are also becoming more common on these platforms, but the multi-touch techniques for 3D operations often lag behind 2D ones in terms of intuitiveness and ease of use. Intuitive navigation techniques are particularly needed to make multi-touch 3D applications more useful, and systematic approaches are direly needed to inform their design: existing techniques are still too often designed in ad-hoc ways. In this paper, we propose a methodology based on cognitive prin-ciples to address this problem. The methodology combines standard user-centered design practices with optical flow analysis to determine the mappings between navigation controls and multi-touch input. It was used to design the navigation technique of a specific application. This technique proved to be more efficient and preferred by users when compared to existing ones, which provides a first validation of the approach.