Monday, November 16, 2009

iPhone May Not be Suitable for Heavy Text Use

US : User Centric, Inc., a Chicago-based usability consultancy, finished a third and final study examining the user experience of Apple’s iPhone. Previously, User Centric found that overall design and usability of the iPhone was good, but the iPhone’s touch keyboard was a weak point for many users. The current study examines specific interactions with the iPhone touch keyboard and compares the texting experiences of iPhone owners and non-owners across devices.

Study Looked at Three Types of Phone Owners

Our study involved data from 60 participants who were asked to enter specific text messages and complete several mobile device tasks. Twenty of these participants were iPhone owners who owned their phones for at least one month. Twenty more participants were owners of traditional hard-key QWERTY phones and another twenty were owners of numeric phones who used the “multi-tap” method of text entry.

Participants were brought in for 75 minute one-on-one usability sessions with a moderator. Each participant entered six fixed-length text messages on their own phone. Non-iPhone owners also did six messages each on the iPhone and a phone of the “opposite” type. The opposite phone for numeric phone owners was a Blackberry and for hard-key QWERTY phone owners it was a numeric Samsung E300 phone. Some participants did additional tasks, including a contact search and add contacts, as time allowed.
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