User testing observations from QuirksBlog

Published by Rafe Blandford at 19:17 UTC, January 12th 2010

Peter-Paul Koch, writing on the QuirksBlog, shares the results of a usability test comparing 10 different phones. What's most interesting is that the user in question might be considered the 'average' user rather than a tech-influencer (as is typical in online media). Consequently many of the observations offer insight into what matters in the real world compared to rarefied atmosphere of the 'media bubble'. Read on for more.

The phones in the test include the Nokia N900, Nokia N97, iPhone 3G, Sony Ericsson W960i, HTC Touch Pro, Blackberry 9500 and HTC Magic capturing a broad spectrum of current touch screen phones.

Ultimately the N900 comes out as the winner, with the iPhone second and N97 third. Clearly the results will vary depend on what task is being tested (in this case it is accessing a mobile banking website) and the user being tested, but the relative results are less important that the observations themselves.

Writing on All About Symbian and testing a variety of high end phones it is easy to lose sight

Some the observations that run against the grain for current trends include:

  • Stylus usage (and included stylus) seen as a good thing.
  • N97 (widely perceived as a 'failed' phone rated highly).
  • Hardware controls for zooming (and in general) working better than software controls.
  • Problems of too many actions hanging of the finger touch input method (select, scroll, zoom).
  • Windows Mobile was ranked above Android. 

These should be considered in the context of the following:

"More in general, B [user being tested]. is a hardware man. He consistently put the phones with better hardware controls higher on his list, with the iPhone and the E71 as the only exceptions. He has also decided to buy a stylus no matter which phone he’ll eventually get."

Read more on the QuirksBlog.

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