Jakob Nielsen critiques the iPad's usability failings - 93 page report

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Harmush, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. Harmush macrumors 6502a

    Harmush

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    #1
  2. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

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    #2
    There's no doubting the iPad is far from perfect, but it does seem to be by far the best tablet device out there at the moment, and that's all that really matters for now.

    I haven't yet read through that document (10MB!), but I can think of several obvious problems with the iPad - lack of tactile feedback on the keyboard, gestures are trial and error (no UI indication if/when gestures are available), device rotation is trial and error (no UI indication if/when any given interface or app will rotate if you rotate the device).
     
  3. lionheartednyhc macrumors 65816

    lionheartednyhc

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    #3
    Gotta love how dumb some users are. This is just two topics from the TOC listing some problems...

    -Where can I tap?

    -Getting lost in an application.

    I can't wait to find out all the other gems, such as....

    -My camera is not working

    -When I have the apple logo facing me, I can't see the screen

    and

    -My earphones don't fit in the bottom hole :p




    AAAAAAAAAAH!
     
  4. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

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    #4
    On the contrary - that's a very reasonable complaint. On MacOSX, a button looks like a button. On the iPad/iPhone OS, many apps have custom interfaces where the button might be just plain text, or a picture or (in some apps I've used) invisible - you have to tap given parts of the screen with no on-screen indicators.
     
  5. diabolic macrumors 68000

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    #5
    That's not an iPad issue, its an individual app UI issue. If you have to wonder where to touch, the app has a poorly designed interface.
     
  6. the_fellowship macrumors regular

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    #6
    Multi-tap isn't always obvious either e.g. 1 finger swipe vs 2 finger swipe etc.
     
  7. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030

    ReallyBigFeet

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    #7
    Usability experts focus on some pretty esoteric concepts. While I'm betting many of his issues with the iPad are valid, not all will be relevant to how YOU use the thing.
     
  8. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

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    #8
    It's not just the apps though, it's in the iPhone OS itself (if that's the right term for the iPad OS?)

    For instance, there's no visual scroller on the device's springboard, so where do you tap to go to the next screen? Once you've how to tap and swipe, it's obvious you can tap anywhere on the apps' icons and drag to scroll from screen to screen, but it's guesswork.

    Not a big problem (or the iPad wouldn't be selling by the millions), but it is a usability issue.
     
  9. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

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    #9
    Exactly. All Apple can do is provide HIG for developers and that is about it. There are poorly designed Mac apps too.
     
  10. Seamaster macrumors 65816

    Seamaster

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    #10
    1. Jakob Nielsen needs to get out more.

    2. Who the f*** is Jakob Nielsen?
     
  11. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

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    #11
    This is not a usability issue.

    The iPhone introduced a lot of new "metaphors" to the UI. Any new metaphor will have a learning curve. The question is how long is that learning curve, and how easy this metaphor helps you accomplish a given task.

    Having to preform a gesture on a multitouch screen, most of the times, is a lot faster and easier than trying to target a single button on the same screen. For example, Apple could have had up/down buttons that would let you scroll through a table view (list of items). Instead, Apple went with a swipe for scrolling. It is a lot more intuitive, fast, and easier.
     
  12. Capt T macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    The title of this thread is misleading.

    The study is called: Usability of iPad Apps and Websites.

    In the who should read this section of the link.

    "This report has important information for anyone who is:

    Responsible for a company's or organization's mobile Internet strategy (or mobile intranet strategy)

    Designing applications for the iPad or other tablet computers"


    There is an outline on that web page of what is in the study.
     
  13. diabolic macrumors 68000

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    #13
    It's a small one. And there aren't a lot of good alternatives out there. Even Android still has quite a way to go to catch iPhone OS in ease of use. As far as tablets go, the iPad has made a quantum leap beyond previous iterations. If this 93 page report were done on the usabity problems of the other tablets I have owned previously, it would be 1000 pages easily. :)
     
  14. JodyK macrumors 6502a

    JodyK

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    #14
    Anyone remember the original iPhone? Look how far the hardware and especially the OS has came since its launch ... The ipad can only get better from here ... And right now its not too bad.
     
  15. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    #15
    You're absolutely right. While far from perfect, I am surprised how useful iPad already is for a 1st gen product. It will only keep getting better.
     
  16. Harmush thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Harmush

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    #16
    Lol.
    I don't know who he is. I noticed it on the guardian website so shared it on here, I not had a chance ti read the report myself yet. I will do after work tonight possibly...
     
  17. colmaclean macrumors 68000

    colmaclean

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    #17
    Quicker just to take sleeping pills.
     
  18. ReallyBigFeet macrumors 68030

    ReallyBigFeet

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    #18
    I just read the whole thing....very useful if you plan on writing apps/websites specifically for the iPad. Its far less "here's where the iPad fails" and far more "here's how this iPad app/website fails to address iPad user interface."

    For example: Things like this forum's 'next page' navigation within a multi-page thread, consisting of a row of boxes showing page numbers inside of each box. That's not very iPad friendly for finger-based input compared to other ways to accomplish same.
     
  19. Sirolway macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Jakob Nielsen is a highly regarded web usability guru & part of the Nielsen Norman Group (with Don Norman, who wrote 'The Design of Everyday Things' which is very interesting if that sort of thing floats your boat).

    He's a good guy.

    I think he has a point in that here is a whole new UI paradigm & we don't really have the interface standardized / figured out. As ever, Apple have done an excellent job, but we have a way to go.

    I like the principle of 'implied affordance' - e.g. a plate on a door means push & a handle means pull - the operation of things should be self-evident. If we have iPhone / iPad apps where it's not obvious where you can tap, we're obviously not quite there just yet.

    The flip side is that I like the simplicity of the iPhone / iPad interface; they're limited by not having a keyboard / big scree / etc so you end up with lots of simple elegant apps, rather than big behemoths that take 5 years to learn ..

    But perhaps that's just me ...
     
  20. Nordichund macrumors 6502

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    #20
    LOL before coming out with classics like that and embarrassing the hell out of yourself you should do a Google search on him.

    As Sirolway he is a good guy and has really influenced web design for the benefit of the everyday user.
     
  21. mcdj macrumors 604

    mcdj

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    #21
    Calling the iPad a first gen product is like calling a poodle a first gen animal.
     
  22. 8CoreWhore macrumors 68020

    8CoreWhore

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    #22
    And take a wild guess at the mental and emotional and cognitive state of these "real users". They have nothing better to do than get paid $20 for 4 hours of "testing".

    From there some of them went and sold plasma. :cool:

    8
     
  23. iRabbit macrumors 6502

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    #23
    I have not read the report and wont waste my time.

    What I will say is that maybe some of the "old dogs" out there that aren't geeks might struggle a bit to learn the iPad touch screen, this new generation of kids and young people WILL NOT. Apple has been training us for years for this migration, with its iPhone and iPod touch and it's super flat keyboards and it has worked... And Apple is GOOD at user interfaces... It always has been.

    Even my 62-year-old mother has had little problems learning to use her iPad. She doesn't take to it as naturally as I did, nor as quickly as my 16-year-old daughter (who was typing a zillion words a minute on the touch screen keyboard in the first day), but I certainly wouldn't describe her as confused about how to use it.

    Anyone who writes a report like this needs to stop being "anti-Mac" for the sake of it, and I'd suggest, get out more.
     
  24. WilliamG macrumors 604

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    #24
    Here's an example:

    Out of the box, how many of you realized you can swipe up on the comma to get an apostrophe?

    Right.
     
  25. mcdj macrumors 604

    mcdj

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    #25
    That would be a valid argument if it were the ONLY way to get an apostrophe. It is not the only way. The other way is readily apparent.

    Right.
     

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