Photo: Nielsen Norman Group
Nielsen Norman Group just published a comprehensive study which finds that many big name iPad apps are too difficult to use, and should abide by one standard for gestures, tapping, etc.Nielsen gave 16 study participants access to the NPR app, the Flipboard app, The Daily app, and the Amazon app, among others, to see how they reacted and what they attempted to swipe, pinch, and tap.
The participants had two months with the iPad apps.
For the most part, Nielsen’s findings detail a consumer’s confusion because every app has a different navigation scheme, and most apps have different looks than their website counterparts.
People had a lot of trouble in specific situations, because from one app to another, performing simple tasks like search, scrolling, or shopping, can be completely different.
In the midst of all their hard findings, Nielsen makes suggestions for app-makers to make their apps more intuitive and ergonomic for users. This list of bullets basically summarizes everything Nielsen thinks are wrong/unintuitive for users.
A few things Nielsen suggests:
- Always have a back button.
- The New Yorker app’s page/article slider sucks.
- Your app should have a “secret weapon” that your website doesn’t have.
- Content should look the same no matter whether you hold your device in portrait or landscape navigation. Nielsen cited a strange phenomenon, where an iPad issue of Wired contained different pictures for an article depending on which way you held the iPad.
- People like progress bars for downloads a lot more than the spinning “gear.”
- Do not make iPad apps as if they were iPhone apps.
- Scrolling “carousel” views are often tougher on the user than a paginated view (shopping apps).
- Functionality comes first. Form can wait. Don’t make a subpar app version of your website.
- Your app should never take more than 20 seconds to download initial content.
- Skip fancy splash screens when you first launch an app.
- If you need to provide instructions for your app, teach one feature at a time. Moleskine’s app displays many features simultaneously, confusing the user.
- Magazines should have a table of contents in their navigation bars.
- You need to make shopping on your tablet app as easy as in a desktop web browser.
- You should stick to a solid format for your website and tablet app. People liked Amazon Windowshop, but were overwhelmed by how different it was from the Amazon website.
- Moleskine’s new note-taking app was abandoned during trials because of its steep learning curve. We found the app to be pretty tough to use when we spent time with it.
Don’t Miss: STUDY: iPad Readers Are Skimming And Can’t Remember What They’ve Read
(via Ars Technica)
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