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iPad Apps Usability Studies from Nielsen-Norman Group

You think the iPad is really “usable” and “intuitive”? Read this report from the leading Usability experts of Nielsen-Norman Group written by Jakob Nielsen himself. You’ll be surprised at his findings and might even agree with him.

If you don’t want to read the long report, Jakob has written a summarized version of his findings – iPad Usability: First Findings From User Testing

Download the report:
Usability of iPad Apps and Websites: First Research Findings

Table of Contents:

  1. Executive Summary
    • First studies
    • Wacky interfaces
    • Inconsistent interaction design
    • Crushing print metaphor
    • Card sharks vs. holy scrollers
    • Toward a better iPad user experience
  2. Research Method
  3. Websites on the iPad
    • Using full sites on the iPad
    • Using mobile sites on the iPad
    • iPad-specific website?
    • App or website?
  4. Mental Models
    • Magazine mental models
    • Modeling a different app
  5. Beautiful Images
  6. The Touch Screen
    • Small target areas
    • Accidental tapping and the Back button
  7. Lack of Affordances: Where Can I Tap?
    • Targets that do not look like targets
    • Invisible controls
    • No hyperlinks
  8. Getting Lost in an Application
    • The home button
    • The search box
    • Tabs and the iPad’s tab bar
    • Navigation panel on the left
    • Carousels
  9. Changing Orientation
  10. An Abundance of Gestures
    • Gestures that are too complex
    • Memory for gestures
  11. Multiple Panels
    • Small font size and crowded content
    • Lower working memory burden
    • Disconnect between action and feedback
  12. Methodology

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3 comments

  1. Several days ago, I asked my friend who craving for iPad, a simple question: “Give me 3 reasons/things what you’re going to do with iPad”. He stunned and thinking… In the end, he took several minutes just to give 3 reasons, which all of them, can already be done through iPhone (only iPad have bigger screen view).

  2. LOL. True. But here’s my take on it.

    I bought it for my mom for her to use a semi-computer on the go. The reason why is simply the larger screen. The iPhone small-ish screen size is not good for her eyes and fingers, thus the larger screen helps.

    Also, she wants to do more computing stuff like word document editing and spreadsheet stuff, which a larger keyboard will help greatly with typing.

    I guess that’s just 2 reasons. Ultimately it is just one’s preference and needs. For my mom, larger is better for her. The weight is light enough to carry in her handbag, yet large enough for her eyes and fingers.

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